Senators Graham (R-SC) and Cassidy (R-LA) have proposed a last ditch budget amendment. Apparently, they think the news cycle is so saturated with natural disasters we will not be paying attention to a man-made one.
However, we MUST pay attention, especially here in Idaho. We should pummel our Idaho U.S. Senators with demands to vote against this terrible, zombie bill, before next week’s vote.
There is so much wrong with this process, even before you get to the relative badness of the bill. Like prior attempts at repeal and replace, Senators Graham and Cassidy, with alarming Senate and White House support, are trying to avoid the deliberative process of the Senate (remember, that failure of “regular order,” about which Senator McCain so passionately spoke in the last round).
The political subterfuge of this “rush job” is obvious and represents hyper-partisanship at its absolute worst.
The proposed process for Graham-Cassidy is even more compressed than before, and is intended to avoid exposure to political and public scrutiny.
It will squash the budding potential for bipartisan collaboration and cooperation and is a violation of democratic process. As a result, we will careen from one half-supported half-baked result to another.
Because of the short deadline, no scoring will be done by the Congressional Budget Office before a vote. Even so, the Republicans appear ready to hurry ahead, no doubt because the CBO fueled criticism of their last repeal and replace efforts.
This is like prescribing medicine before the test results are back and a proper diagnosis can be made.
As for the badness of the bill, the Graham-Cassidy amendment is clearly worse than previous repeal and replace efforts. Suffice it to say that, if passed, it would have a massive negative impact on Idaho and the rest of the country.
The insurance markets, now relatively stable, would be turned upside down. Even more people (32 million) would lose health insurance. Federal protection for people with pre-existing conditions would disappear. Planned Parenthood would be defunded. Medicaid would be crippled and ultimately disappear.
The whole idea is to kick-the-can-down-the-road to the states with block grants, shifting the burden of fixing health care to disparate state legislative and executive bodies.
The result will be an uneven system of health care “haves” and “have-nots,” with hugely damaging economic and social consequences, especially for thinly-populated, heavily-rural states like ours.
Given the poor performance of the Idaho state legislature on health care generally, Idahoans especially should be screaming “foul.”
Call our Senators, today, and every day, until next week’s vote. Senator Crapo’s number in D.C. is (202) 224-6142, and Senator Risch’s is (202) 224-2752. Call Senators McCain (202) 224-2235, Murkowski (202) 224-6665 and Collins (202) 224-2523) too, if you have time.