In their desperation to provide $600 billion in tax cuts to their rich campaign contributors, the Republicans have decided to abandon all the standard rules by which Congress has governed itself. The actions might seem extraordinary, but we know how desperately the richest people in the country need tax cuts, so who can complain if the normal procedures are not being followed?
Unfortunately the debate over the “repeal and replacement” of Obamacare is being confused with a debate over health care. Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican caucuses in the House and Senate don’t give a damn about health care. This is about getting $600 billion in tax cuts for the people who pay for their campaigns and will offer them jobs as high paid lobbyists when they leave office. The fact that the tax cuts are associated with health care for tens of millions of people is just a coincidence.
If anyone thought the Republicans were interested in actually putting together a health care plan that was better than Obamacare, their actions show beyond any doubt this is not the case. After the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the first version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) would increase the number of people without insurance by 24 million, the Republican leadership rushed a vote of the revised version before CBO had time to evaluate it.
This is the sort of behavior for which there is not an adequate reservoir of ridicule. How can the Republicans think that they will have a better bill if they don’t have input from CBO? Just to be clear, CBO has gotten many things wrong. There are reasons that people can reasonably object to a CBO assessment, as I have occasionally done.
But the manner in which serious people challenge CBO is by reviewing its projections…