Senate GOP Plans To Keep Healthcare Bill Secret Until It’s Too Late To Stop Them | THE POLITICUS

Senate GOP Plans To Keep Healthcare Bill Secret Until It’s Too Late To Stop Them

On Tuesday, Donald Trump sat down for lunch with Senate Republicans, hoping to hash out the details of Trumpcare. The much-maligned health care bill made it out of the House back at the beginning of May, though GOP senators indicated the version that would eventually come out of their chamber would look much different.

There were two big takeaways from the lunch, First, the president came away calling the House version of the bill “mean” and saying it should be “more generous,” according to an AP report. And during a press conference after the lunch, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that the bill would only be available to the public when its final version is released. Republicans will only release the bill once they have secured enough votes to pass it.

In other words, you will have no idea what’s in the Republican health care legislation until just before it passes.

Separately, a number of senators commented on the president’s stance on the process. Senator John Thune (R-SD) indicated that overall, the president was pleased:

His message was that there’s a sense of urgency about this. We can’t afford to fail; we’ve got to get it done, and he’s certainly fine with the Senate taking a different direction than what the House [did]. The president is very interested in getting a health reform bill through the Senate and he wants us to get moving on it.”

If that sounds like just so much “sideline interview after a touchdown,” it’s because it is. Republicans must stick to their talking points — “Coach said to give 110%, and that’s what we did!” — in order to avoid the public scrutiny that accompanies the kind of secrecy they’re trying to maintain.

But the issue of the bill’s release looms: Senators haven’t simply withheld the public release of the bill — their meetings on it have been completely closed to the public. Any real details would have to come in the form of Republicans’ least favorite method of communication: Leaks.

And why is the GOP so clandestine about this bill? The conventional wisdom is because it’s awful. The House version was nearly universally despised by the public, prompting endless angry town hall meetings for representatives who went back to their home districts after the vote. According to the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the Senate bill will look much the same as the House bill, at least in the ways that matter: It will rob almost exactly as many Americans of their healthcare, be just as awful on pre-existing conditions, and freeze Medicaid expansions.

No wonder Mitch doesn’t want anyone to see it.


Featured image via Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

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