Senate Republicans continue to construct their version of the American Health Care Act behind closed doors, seemingly indifferent about the fact that this legislation will affect people across the United States and if it is anything like its predecessor, the health care bill approved by the House, it might even kick millions of low-income and poor people off their health insurance.
Despite constant requests and criticism from the Democrats, the Senate committee headed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to share any details of the bill with public.
No one — except the 13 white men on the committee — know how similar or different their secret plan is to the overwhelmingly unpopular initial proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare. Moreover, no one knows what health benefits they might lose or if they will have to pay higher premiums for whatever the Senate Republicans deem to categorize as “pre-existing conditions.”
It's ironic how these people, who are now keeping Trumpcare under tight wraps, once complained about lack of transparency in the proceedings for the Affordable Care Act, which as most would remember, went on for months on end.
Here is what Republicans were saying about Obamacare back then.
Vice President Mike Pence
It's simply wrong for legislation that'll affect 100% of the American people to be negotiated behind closed doors - https://ow.ly/W9gq #hcr— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) January 13, 2010
Health Secretary Tom Price
With Democrats discussing health care in secret, they're sacrificing the trust of the American people.— Tom Price (@RepTomPrice) January 14, 2010
And when it comes to a health care bill this bad, a little sunlight could go a long way.— Tom Price (@RepTomPrice) January 6, 2010
Sen. Chuck Grassley
If u hv time watch Finance Comm during amending process of Health Care. Affects 1/6th economy and evry American. Big lift for Congress— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) September 23, 2009
Sen. John Cornyn
The people have a right to know what is happening behind closed doors with secret HC negotiations— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) January 7, 2010
How about the rest of America that was excluded from secret talks: White House nears deal on health care? https://bit.ly/5dK7b6— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) January 15, 2010
Rep. Vern Buchanan
Congress Should Not Draft The Health Care Bill In Secret,All Conference Committee Meetings Should Be Open To The Public https://bit.ly/10tio1— Rep. Vern Buchanan (@VernBuchanan) October 19, 2009
Trump’s Small Business Administration administrator, Linda McMahon
Rep. Walter Jones
The American people do not want health care reform negotiated behind closed doors and neither do I. https://tinyurl.com/yeax5ee— Rep. Walter Jones (@RepWalterJones) January 6, 2010
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers
We deserve openness & transparency in the health care bill negotiations, not more secret backroom deals. Don't you agree? https://is.gd/5Oj8k— CathyMcMorrisRodgers (@cathymcmorris) January 6, 2010
In a 2010 Washington Post op-ed titled, “Reconciliation on health care would be an assault to the democratic process,” Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) criticized Democrats for using reconciliation, which is a budget maneuver that allows a bill to pass in Senate with 51 votes instead of the 60 needed to break a filibuster.
"The havoc wrought would threaten our system of checks and balances, corrode the legislative process, degrade our system of government and damage the prospects of bipartisanship," he complained back then.
Now, in an ultimate twist of irony and pure hypocrisy, Republicans are eyeing the very same tactic to pass their health care bill.
It is also important to note that Hatch, who is now the chair of Senate Finance Committee, recently suggested the reason Senate GOP is not holding public hearings about the legislation is that it would give Democrats more opportunity to attack the bill.
He was not the only Republican to throw a fit over Obamacare hearings, which, unlike Trumpcare, allowed Republicans ample time to propose and debate hundreds of amendments.
“Congress is moving fast to rush through a health care overhaul that lacks a key ingredient: the full participation of you, the American people,” House Speaker Paul Ryan wrote in an op-ed back in 2009. McConnell also warned Democrats they would lose elections if they tried to “jam” a bill through Congress — despite the fact that the ACA arrived on the floor with a full CBO analysis of its potential impact where the Senate’s version of AHCA is still a secret.