Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) was confused. As this video shows, he was conducting a town hall meeting when one of his constituents noted that her life was dependent upon the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). He couldn’t understand why she was worried. Preexisting conditions are covered under Obamacare and Obamacare isn’t’ going anywhere. It is the law of the land. Sure the courts could rule it unconstitutional, but that probably won’t happen. She asked him about his votes to repeal the law. He didn’t understand the question. That was ancient history, over a year ago. This constituent actually thought that his votes to repeal Obamacare were serious.
We are currently living in the age of cynicism. From the moment that the last Republican Senator abandoned the negotiations that created the PPACA and forced the eventual party-line vote, we have had a consistent political pitch to repeal the law. Through the first eight years the Republican controlled House of Representatives could pass as many bills as they wished without any fear of the consequences. And even when the Republicans took over the Senate they had the safety of an adult in the White House. There wasn’t any risk to their votes. They could keep the base riled up, keep the campaign funds rolling in, and never worry that anything was going to happen. And even when the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House, there was always someone (McCain?) to save them from themselves.
The problem is that not everyone was in on the scam. A significant portion of the American public benefited from the law. They took every assault on the law personally. The Medicaid Expansion provided access to health care to the working poor. Guaranteed issue with coverage for preexisting conditions eliminated the fears of millions of Americans. Young women were now guaranteed maternity coverage. And children could stay on their parents’ policies to age 26. Would they lose their coverage? Worse, many of the Congressmen who cynically initiated the fight were eventually replace by people who weren’t in on the joke (see Eric Cantor). And state legislators in red states picked up the fight and took to the courts.
This blog has discussed the Texas lawsuit. The big news is that the Trump administration, once oddly neutral in the fight to retain coverage for preexisting conditions, is now committed to declaring the law unconstitutional and recommending that the entire law be overturned. This has resulted in a new round of panic amongst diabetics, heart patients, and those of us who have battled cancer. During Congressional testimony Attorney General Barr brushed off concerns, mostly because he doesn’t give a damn. Senator Grassley told his constituent that the lawsuit will probably fail. And if it doesn’t?
Senator Grassley, in a separate interview, noted that his constituents have nothing to worry about. After all, he and a group of his fellow Senators just introduced the Protect Act, S 1125. There are three tells, three ways to know that this isn’t serious legislation.
The legislation is cosponsored by 18 Republican Senators.
3. Like most legislation that is for show, the text of the legislation begins with the usual preamble detailing the ills of Obamacare. You can always spot BS legislation when the author doesn’t even bother to use the official name, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in the actual text.
I would review the legislation, but I see no reason to take it more seriously than the Senators who stuck their names on it.
Having failed to repeal The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act without a viable replacement, the full force of the federal government is now trying to get the law overturned in the courts. This has left more than a few people concerned about their health insurance, the way most Americans access and pay for health care. And it has left at least one Senator, that guy in Iowa, totally befuddled.
Picture – Room 1200 – David L Cunix