Pro-life party should kill this bill, instead of Americans

Pro-life party should kill this bill, instead of Americans
© Greg Nash

We have all heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. One of the dictionary definitions of insanity is “extreme foolishness or irrationality.”

Politically, we are seeing both of these play out once again as the GOP embarks on its third attempt to “repeal and replace” ObamaCare with not just a “foolish or irrational” health-care bill but the most draconian, dangerous and insidious bill that threatens the lives of millions of Americans.

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The Graham-Cassidy health-care bill is the third version of TrumpCare that has been revived in order to placate Republicans whose priority is not strengthening our health-care system for all Americans, or even offering something better than ObamaCare, but to simply repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care law because it was a seven-year campaign promise to do so, and they are obsessed with doing it no matter the consequences.

 

This is not leadership. This is not courage. This is not worthy of the supposed pro-life party.

It is not solution-based governing. It is governing by bumper sticker. It is kowtowing to the most extreme elements of the base who are still in the throes of an Obama-hate hangover. It is betraying the American people who voted for you to do what is in their best interest. The Graham-Cassidy bill is not in the best interest of Americans.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s take a look at a few paragraphs from a letter that the Cancer Action Network sent to Alaska’s governor, urging him to oppose this terrible bill:

“As drafted the Graham-Cassidy legislation would end the Medicaid expansion completely and place a per capita cap on traditional Medicaid, remove funding protections for children and disabled Americans, and impose a dramatic reduction in Medicaid support to your state over the next decade and beyond.

In addition, the bill eliminates the marketplace premium subsidies and cost-sharing subsidies effectively shutting down the marketplace created under current law. Finally, the bill would roll back important essential health benefit protections, and potentially open the door to annual and lifetime caps on coverage, endangering access to critical care for millions of Americans.

“Accordingly, we are urging senators to oppose the legislation because it completely fails to protect cancer patients and millions of other Americans who would lose their coverage and access to affordable health care.”

Then you have the bipartisan letter from 10 governors, five Democrats and five Republicans (two additional Republicans have signed on since), urging GOP senators to oppose this incredibly flawed bill, as it will hurt constituents across the country by decimating Medicaid, stripping protections for coverage of pre-existing conditions, and doing nothing to stabilize or reduce premiums in the individual marketplace which is the core of what both sides agree needs to be fixed in the current Affordable Care Act.

This is not rocket-science. While fixing health care, which represents one-sixth of the nation’s economy, does remain a complicated, tough task, what is simple is that a bill that takes away health care from millions of vulnerable Americans, including seniors and children, should not be a bill that our legislators champion.

And deep down, they know it. Just look at what Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans jockey for position on immigration House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly Grassley: DACA deal wouldn't need border wall funding MORE (R-Iowa) said about the bill on a conference call with reporters: “You know, I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered. But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That’s pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill.”

When you have picked your jaw up off the floor, there are more reasons why this bill should not be one the GOP supports, aside from the fact that it will put the lives of millions of Americans in danger.

In a desperate attempt to ram this ill-begotten bill through the Senate before Sept. 30, so they can do it with a simple majority instead of the 60-vote threshold, GOP senators are sacrificing their own principles at the altar of petty partisanship.

Consider what GOP legislators have said in the past about other bills. Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainRubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts The VA's woes cannot be pinned on any singular administration Overnight Defense: Mattis offers support for Iran deal | McCain blocks nominees over Afghanistan strategy | Trump, Tillerson spilt raises new questions about N. Korea policy MORE (R-Ariz.), a crucial vote for the GOP and the one that helped to sink the last horrid version of TrumpCare (thank you, Sen. McCain), has said he would not support any bill that does not go through regular order, meaning through the process a bill should actually go through to become a law: committee votes, multiple hearings, opportunities for the public to weigh in, and importantly, opportunities for Democrats to offer amendments to make the bill more palatable. The GOP has completely shut this process down. So, with more reason, Sen. McCain needs to oppose Graham-Cassidy.

Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDurbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration Overnight Health Care: House passes 20-week abortion ban | GOP gives ground over ObamaCare fix | Price exit sets off speculation over replacement MORE (R-S.C.), an author of the latest bill, was critical in the past of other bills that were being pushed through without a Congressional Budget Office score on the impact to Americans, and those that did not allow for a robust debate. The word “hypocrite” comes to mind.

The last two TrumpCare bills had a CBO score that indicated that tens of millions of Americans would lose their health care. While Graham-Cassidy has not been scored yet, we can be confidant Republicans would not like the CBO numbers. No wonder they don’t want to wait.

By so many measures and analyses, the Graham-Cassidy bill is the most draconian TrumpCare bill yet. There is not one patient group, insurer, medical association or health care group that supports this insidious bill. In fact, most of them strongly oppose it — AARP and the AMA included.

The GOP needs to think long and hard about the kind of party it has become. If it truly believes it is the pro-life party, it will kill this bill immediately — instead of millions of Americans. If it proceeds, it can no longer call itself pro-life. But it will be able to call itself the party of, well, insanity.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.