One of the initial things we were told about this apparent trainwreck of a healthcare bill is that it was part of a “three-phase” plan. This bill was simply the first phase, and there are two more to go.
As a result, many people believed that would mean three healthcare bills. Senator Tom Cotton put a stop to that one this morning.
More Tom Cotton: "There is not going to be phase three legislation. It’s phase one and done."
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) March 14, 2017
That’s naturally causing some upset, because it’s a direct contradiction to what people were led to believe about the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This 123-page bill is not going to be supplemented. It is the healthcare plan for the GOP. And it is awful.
Now, this is either a pretty big lie (to pile on the other lies made by the GOP), or it is a misconception that they never put a stop to.
For the former, the GOP’s leadership in Washington came up with the “three-phase” line to ease people’s minds about the legislation and promising more to come. This would result in a narrow passage of the bill through the Senate that President Trump would sign. Afterward, when it came time to bring up bill number two, the GOP could say “It was difficult last time. I don’t think we have the votes to do it anymore.”
The alternative is that the three-phases referred to something else, and healthcare reform was first phase. The second phase, if I had to guess, would be a budget resolution of some sort that, likewise, has to go through reconciliation in the Senate along party lines. The third phase, then, would be Ryan’s other pet project, tax reform.
The problem with the latter scenario, then, is that no one sought to quash the lie that it was referring to a legislative agenda and not healthcare reform. While it is far more preferable to the former scenario, it still leaves us stuck with a healthcare plan no one in the GOP outside of (and even some within) Washington don’t like. What’s worse, it shatters any built-up trust the GOP picked up in gaining Congress and the White House.
The next moves will be interesting here. Interesting and, more than likely, worrisome.