Monday, June 26, 2017

By Any Means Necessary

If the tens of millions whose health care would deteriorate because of the Better Care Reconciliation Act are disregarded, the The kabuki dance that is Mitch McConnell's effort to secure the votes of 50 Senators could be seen as entertaining, albeit with an outcome nearly inevitable.

The House approved a bill; Paul Ryan succeeded in his mission. Mitch McConnell will not fail in his assigned role to gain passage of a tax cut- uh, er, health care- bill, which would otherwise gain him the ire of Trump and the Presidential Stepfords.

The Associated Press reports Monday

"I would like to delay," said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., one of the five senators opposing the bill. "These bills aren't going to fix the problem. They're not addressing the root cause," he said, referring to rising health care costs. "They're doing the same old Washington thing, throwing more money at the problem."

Count Johnson as a "yes." "I don't have the feedback from constituencies who will not have had enough time to review the Senate bill," Johnson said on Meet the Press, adding "we should not be voting on this next week." He also stated "I'm not a 'yes' yet" (omitted from video below);

If he were a Democrat, thus willing to admit he believes in science, Johnson would have claimed he's "evolving." We have precedent, from a President who in 2010 contended "I have to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage. But I also think you're right that attitudes evolve, including mine." All it  took for the evolution to be complete was a running mate in 2012 asserting that he himself had no problem with same-sex marriage.

Johnson is in, and it won't take an increase in Medicaid to get him there.  Last week, reportedly calling the Senate bill as written "mean," President Trump told a group of GOP senators "I really appreciate what you're doing to come out with a bill that's going to be a phenomenal bill for the people of our country: generous, kind, with heart. That's what I'm saying. And that may be adding additional money into it."

The man rails against "leaks" as if it were ISIL acquiring a nuclear weapon but said not a word about leaks. Nor did anyone ask what the "additional money" he allegedly cited actually referred to. But we have an idea now that the demagogue who allegedly decried the meanness of the bill says "we have a very good plan."

Of course they do, by the one conservative Republican criterion that counts.  Brian Beutler notes "the text of the no-longer-secret Senate bill provides ample proof that, as many critics including myself have noted, Republicans’ Obamacare repeal effort is actually a regressive tax cut plan disguised as health care legislation."

Beutler cites Section 119, entitled "repeal of net investment tax," which retroactively repeals the 3.8 percent tax on net investment income, and explains

The economic-growth argument for cutting capital-gains taxes is that taxing investment gains at a lower rate than other kinds of income creates an incentive for people to save and invest and thus grow the economy. In other words, the non-greedy justification for cutting capital gains taxes is all about the future. A retroactive cut spurs nothing, because it essentially refunds taxes already paid by the wealthy for gains they already realized. The reason there’s a give-money-to-rich-people provision in a bill called the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” is because it’s a millionaire tax cut bill dressed up as a health bill. Practically the only people taken better care of under its terms are people who already have it extremely good in life.

As a health care bill, the BCRA is a bad bill, a small consideration for GOP senators when it shovels much more money to the wealthy, Ron Johnson will be joined by Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Dean Heller grabbing onto that train before it leaves the tax cut terminal.  It may be passed after Independence Day- in the manner that Steve M. theorizes here- but Mitch McConnell was, sadly, born to this moment.

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