Making Sense of the GOP’s Maddeningly Secret Health Care Bill

Don't ask what's in it. They won't (or can't) tell you.
The Trump administration seems to be in what the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin calls a “death spiral,” but that isn’t really slowing down the Republican-controlled Congress. For example, just last week, the House voted to undo banking regulations put in place after the 2008 financial crisis. You know, that little collapse that led to our horrific recession.

And speaking of death spirals, GOP members in the Senate are hard at work repealing and replacing Obamacare, a system they claim is failing — even though it most likely isn’t. (By the by, if it is failing, that may be due to the Republicans’ active efforts to sabotage it.)

To give you a quick update on the House draft of the American Health Care Act the senators are working off of:
• About 17% of Americans support it.
• The CBO estimates that it would leave 23 million more Americans uninsured.
• It would make it much harder for people with preexisting conditions to afford health insurance.
• Despite holding a Rose Garden celebration after the vote passed, President Trump himself now describes the bill as “mean.”

Last night, Trevor laid out a few of the most troubling aspects of the Senate’s repeal strategy:
• Only a small group of Republican senators are crafting the bill behind closed doors, and with only the barest semblance of good-faith, bipartisan collaboration.
• There are currently no hearings scheduled to help the public understand the bill.
• The Republicans seem to be more concerned with speed than quality.

All of this raises the question: Why the hell are Republicans senators trying to pass a bill that almost nobody likes?

Reporters at Vox actually asked eight of them, each of whom seems to have a different level of involvement with the legislation. The answers senators gave were mostly either vague or evasive — in large part because some of them also haven’t seen the bill.

FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of the question doesn’t inspire much confidence, either. In a nutshell, Republicans’ possible rationale for repealing Obamacare could stem from their deeply held conservative beliefs that it tries to make health care more affordable in the wrong way. Or they could be trying to piss off the left. Or it could be a backdoor for tax cuts to the wealthy.

So the next time you find yourself feeling confused by Senate Republicans’ health care bill, stop and remember:

There may not even be a bill.

If there is a bill, the Republicans don’t seem to want you to see it.

If the Republicans don’t want you to see it, it’s because you probably won’t like it.

And you probably won’t like it because even the senators writing it don’t know how it’s supposed to help you.

(We also wish this mystery were more fun.)