Lethal Dose


Today the House votes on the hastily concocted toxic brew they’ve come up with to replace Obamacare…right now the big question appears to be whether they can make it awful enough to appeal to the “Freedom” Caucus while not losing any of what the Times calls “moderate Republicans” (note: this is how the Overton window marches ever rightward).

Conservatives are upset by the failure of the House bill to repeal a set of regulations in Mr. Obama’s signature health law, which require insurers to cover a base set of benefits, like maternity care, preventive services, wellness checkups and rehabilitative services. These “essential health benefits” raise the cost of insurance and prevent companies from offering stripped-down options, the conservatives say.

“How can you talk about repealing the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, without repealing the essential health benefits?” asked Representative Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican who attended the meeting with Mr. Pence.

Regardless of today’s outcome, any normal liberal/progressive political party would have a field day with this. “They’re voting to ‘repeal essential benefits'” should be a message/talking point that becomes reflexively associated with Trump/Ryan care. But…Democrats…so, instead…

Representative Mike Simpson, Republican of Idaho, likened the swirling cloud of uncertainty to the situation in November 2003, when the House approved a bill adding prescription drug benefits to Medicare after a roll-call vote that lasted nearly three hours in the middle of the night. The bill passed, 220 to 215, after House Republican leaders put down a conservative rebellion.

Yeah, that won’t surprise me. Then we’ll have a few news cycles devoted to the politics and spin, and finally…a relatively quiet death in the Senate. Rinse, repeat…and get used to the idea of government as little more than reality television through at least 2020…which is, well, not exactly all fine and good, but survivable…unless and until, heaven forbid, you get a real crisis…