Hoping to kill Obamacare before Trump’s inevitable impeachment, Senate Republicans set out on a dark path, refusing to show the American people the legislation that will rob millions of their health care before it’s brought to a vote

Word is, by the end of the month, Senate Republicans will move to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. And, it would seem, they intend to do so without first allowing the American people to see what this replacement plan would mean for their families… That’s right. The legislation is being drafted behind closed doors, and the Republicans have indicated that its contents won’t be made public until just hours prior to the vote… The following comes by way of Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.

…Majority Leader Mitch McConnell came out of the Republican caucus launch on Tuesday happy as a clam about their health care bill. Then Wednesday, while everyone was focused on FBI Director Comey’s written testimony, they quietly filed “Rule 14” so that the health care bill can skip all hearings and committee votes. That means Republicans could pass this thing as early as next week.

If you’re confused and wondering “what will the Senate Republicans pass?” – don’t worry, you’re not alone. I haven’t seen the Senate Republicans’ health care plan. None of my Democratic colleagues have either. We have no idea what sort of giveaways they may be promising undecided Republicans to secure their votes.

Senate Republicans have done all their deal-making behind closed doors, and we think the Republicans will only give us hours to look at their bill. Only a few hours to see all of the ways that they will gut health care for seniors, for veterans, for children, for people with disabilities – for working people across Massachusetts and around this country.

I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve never seen anything close to this. No hearings, no debate, no bill to look at. This scheme to repeal health care takes every norm of the Senate – every concept of how we work together – and just burns them to the ground…

And, as you might imagine, it’s not just Warren who’s upset about this. Senator Claire McCaskill had a brilliant exchange with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch a few days ago, demanding to know why Republicans refuse to allow public hearings on their secret plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Here’s the video, followed by a bit of the text.

McCaskill: “I watched carefully all of the hearings that went on around the Affordable Care Act. I was not a member of this committeee at the time, although I would have liked to (have been). Senator Grassley was the ranking member. Dozens of Republican amendments were offered and accepted in that hearing process. And, when you say that you’re inviting us… I heard you, Mr. Secretary, just say that you’d love our support. Support for what? We don’t even know. We have no idea what’s being proposed. There’s a group of guys in a back room somewhere that are making these decisions. There were no hearings in the House. I mean, listen, this is hard to take… We’re not even going to have a hearing on a bill that impacts one-sixth of our economy. We’re not going to have an opportunity to offer a single amendment…

Just think about that for a minute. This legislation, as McCaskill points out, would impact one-sixth of our economy, and yet there won’t be a single public hearing to discuss its contents. They know this is shit. And they know this is the only way this can pass. And we cannot allow it to happen. This is not how a functioning Democracy operates.

I know it’s not as sexy as the Russia investigation, but this is life and death. While I assume the Senate will likely do something to improve upon the House bill, which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would take health care from over 24 million Americans, cut Medicaid by $840 billion, severely scale back protections for people with preexisting conditions, and any number of other horrible things, the fact is that it will still be significantly worse for the American people that the Affordable Care Act… which, again, is why Senate Republicans want to force it through as soon as possible, before the American people realize what’s happening.

The American people, for good reason, don’t like Trumpcare, and, what’s more, the more that comes out about it, the more they like Obamacare. And, as you can imagine, the heat is building against Republicans, who are being increasingly being held to task by their constituents. The problem is, we don’t have a lot of time to make people aware of what’s happening.

So, we need to keep the pressure on, following the Indivisible guidelines. We need to call our Republican Senators, we need to go to their offices, and we need to follow them wherever they go. We need to demonstrate to them that there will be significant consequences if they move forward with this tax giveaway to the rich paid for with the lives of the American people. [Make no mistake. That’s exactly what this is. It’s wealth care, not health care.] And, perhaps just as importantly, we need to encourage our Democratic Senators to slow the business of the Senate to a standstill. We need for them to buy us the time we need to get the word out to our friends in states like Ohio, where we might have a chance of changing the dynamic. The Republicans barely have the votes to pull this off, and all it would take is one or two to change their minds for this whole thing to fall apart.

Here, from Roll Call, are just a few of those Republican Senators who might be of a mind to walk away from the calamity that is Trumpcare if urged to do so.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio
Portman has emerged as a key voice in the Medicaid debate. His state adopted the expansion and Medicaid now covers roughly 25 percent of the population of Ohio. It has also become a crucial lifeline for many in his state who are suffering from opioid addictions. Portman is leading a smaller working group of members from states that expanded Medicaid under the 2010 law. The group advocates a more gradual phaseout of the law’s Medicaid expansion.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.
Cassidy, a physician by training, is one of the chamber’s foremost experts on health care policy. While he has voiced concerns over a number of areas of the House bill, there is one glaring concern from back home. Louisiana has one of the largest Medicaid populations in the country. The program covers just over 30 percent of the state’s population.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine
Collins, the marquee moderate Republican in the Senate, has been very vocal in her disapproval of the House plan. She has lambasted the bill’s restructuring of the health care law’s subsidies, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said could increase rates for older Americans. As one of two GOP senators to vote against a 2015 bill to repeal the health care law that was later vetoed by Obama, expect Collins to drive a hard bargain for her support.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska
Alaska faces some of the highest health care costs in the nation. Its small, rural population lacks widespread access to both providers and insurance companies. Alaska also expanded Medicaid under the health care law and the program covers roughly 20 percent of the state’s population. Expect all of that to factor into Murkowski’s stance on any legislation that would overhaul the current health care system.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.
One of two Republican senators considered vulnerable in next year’s midterms, Flake is in a difficult position. Arizona expanded Medicaid under the health care law and it now covers nearly 30 percent of the state’s population. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has already launched ads targeting Flake on health care. Flake, whose state has experienced a 150 percent increase in premium costs from 2014 to 2017, is also sure to hear from concerned constituents on the issue.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.
Heller’s seat is another one Democrats are eying as a possible pickup opportunity next year. Medicaid covers roughly 20 percent of Nevada’s population and the provisions in the House bill targeting the entitlement program have been a key point of criticism for Heller. The DSCC is also targeting him in their attack ads on health care.

So, here’s a good place to start. I you have friends or family in any of the above states, please ask them to call their Senator’s office and demand that they give Trumpcare the public hearing it deserves.

There’s not a minute to lose…. Please help get the word out about what’s happening… This is deadly serious.

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  1. Anonymous
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    From Slate:

    What Senate Republicans learned from their House colleagues: Don’t let anyone see the AHCA bill. slate.me/2sVZ43g

  2. EOS
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    ObamaCare? This came to pass because Democrats locked the Senate chamber doors, refusing to let any Republican in. No one had a chance to even read the bill before the vote. Pelosi said they had to vote on the bill before they would know what it said. It was designed to fail so that single payer plan would become a necessity.

    Anyone who supports single payer has obviously not experienced the wonderful VA medical system. When the waitlist gets too long, they throw out the list… Colonoscopies result in HIV infections … Wait time to get a prescription filled is typically 2 – 4 hours. “We’re the government and we are here to help.”

  3. Maria Huffman
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    that is some shade, eos mr.anonymous..way to get Michigan off the hook for paying for medicaid colonoscopies..you’re the best,

  4. Maria Huffman
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    eos are you Rick Snyder?

  5. EOS
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Yes Maria. You guessed right. I am the governor. And I am not at all happy about your illegal dumping of toxic paint into the sewers.

  6. Meta
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    That’s simply not true, EOS. There was a year of hearings and opportunities were given for the Republicans to add amendments. Know your history.

    Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) on Monday drew a distinction between the way ObamaCare was passed and the way in which the GOP is handling its healthcare plan.

    “When the Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act back in 2009, I wasn’t in the Senate, but there were hearings after hearings after hearings over a year before they came to the conclusion that they were going to have to pass the bill without Republicans,” he said on CNN’s “New Day.”

    “The bill had Republican amendments taken up and voted on in committee hearings before it ultimately became law, but it’s a very different process than the closed-door process Republicans are following now.”

    Read more:

  7. Eel
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    It’s pretty widely known that some of these Republican Senators are being bought off to support Trumpcare.

  8. Kim
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    There’s nothing like photos of old white men defunding Planned Parenthoid to get my blood racing.

  9. Lynne
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Re: “Anyone who supports single payer has obviously not experienced the wonderful VA medical system. “

    While I havent personally experienced VA health care, I have seen how much better it is than the alternative, which for many is nothing. I know veterans whose lives have been improved a lot because of the VA. I know it helped my family when my uncle got sick. Not having huge medical bills was good for everyone and he got great care. Not to mention how much more efficient the VA is than the private sector. Hate to break it to you but people encounter things like wait list in the private sector too. I have had to wait longer than 2-3 hours for Rx too when the pharmacy has been busy. I would find a VA style of public healthcare to be acceptable.

  10. VP Pence
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Vice President Pence‏Verified account @VP

    .@POTUS Trump is fighting every day to restore freedom to American health care.


  11. Maria E. Huffman
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    So that time I got chased through Detroit by a white man with red hair and vet michigan license plates down i 75 in Detroit..all those years ago…there was a bus riding the middle lanes and i tried to get that bus drivers attention, but to no avail… I slowed down to 35 mph and hung on that bus’s right front side and nothign…and I remember this, the lights were on on the bus, and I could see a few people in it..not a lot of people and the bus driver, he never looked my way…he was about 50s white man, plump, with greying hair, short sleaves maybe, with those big front windshields buses used to have..
    Well, I got away that night, no thanks to the bus driver…but I still like bus drivers to this day, anyway.

  12. News from DC
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    ALERT: Reporters at Capitol have been told they are not allow to film interviews with senators in hallways, contrary to years of precedent

  13. Taco Farts
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    FWIW the resident troll up there is also purposefully or ignorantly misrepresenting the Pelosi quote.

  14. Bloomberg reporter Laura Litvan
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    “Another restriction informed about today: we can’t venture outside tiny `stake out’ area to talk to senators coming to Capitol to vote”

  15. Think Progress
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    The Senate is blocking TV reporters from interviewing lawmakers in the Capitol http://thkpr.gs/dcbb3469dc2c

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink


  17. Mike
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    If it’s any remote consolation, all the smiling rich soulless cronies you see in the picture above will one day be dumped into a nursing home and left to rot by offspring who likely hate them just as much as you do.

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