by The New York Times Editorial Board
June 13, 2017
A coterie of Republicans is planning to have the Senate vote before July 4 on a bill that could take health insurance away from up to 23 million people and make changes to the coverage of millions of others. And they are coming up with the legislation behind closed doors without holding hearings, without consulting lawmakers who disagree with them and without engaging in any meaningful public debate.
There is no mystery why the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is trying to push this bill through quickly. The legislation would repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Opening it to scrutiny before a vote would be the congressional equivalent of exposing a vampire to sunlight.
That is one mistake Mr. McConnell, a master of the Senate’s dark arts, is not about to make. As one Republican aide put it to Axios on Monday, “We aren’t stupid.” Better to pass a terrible bill in the cover of darkness just as the House did with its version, the American Health Care Act, in the hopes that critics do not have much time to raise a stink. And then there is President Trump, who is standing ready to applaud whatever turkey the Senate produces as long as it gives him a chance to claim a win.
Mr. McConnell’s strategy belies the disingenuous Republican complaint that Democrats jammed the A.C.A., or Obamacare, into law in 2010 without sufficient analysis or discussion. The Republican effort to undo the A.C.A. bears no resemblance whatsoever to that much more thorough exercise. Congress and the Obama administration spent a year on health care reform from March 2009 to March 2010. The House and Senate came up with several competing bills, held dozens of hearings, accepted Republican amendments and spent countless hours soliciting feedback from public interests groups and the health care industry. The Congressional Budget Office produced several reports to analyze the various proposals and the legislation that ultimately became law.