Andy Slavitt, the former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Obama, revealed a trick that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could use to limit debate on the newest version of the AHCA, or “Trumpcare,” to only two to four hours total, including debate.
Whereas the healthcare bill would normally require a minimum of 20 hours of debate in the Senate, McConnell’s trick would severely reduce that time frame. By introducing a “nothing” bill into the Senate, waiting out the 20 hours required to debate a bill – which will amount to no debate, in that the bill is effectively a Trojan horse – and offering a “substitute amendment” at the last minute with the legislative text of the final AHCA bill, Senate Republicans can effectively bypass the final remaining vestiges of protocol and oversight in favor of ramming their healthcare bill through the upper chamber.
This comes on the heels of McConnell deploying Rule XIV last week, which is a fast-track procedure that “bypasses the committee process and moves the bill directly to the floor.” His strategy, by limiting voting from what should be months to, potentially, hours, is that, while there will be a CBO score, its details will not be clear until after the vote.
While Republicans may claim that the ACA, or Obamacare, was pushed through Congress, the truth is that there were months of consideration for the bill. In 2009, there were 36 days of hearings, 18 days of markups, and 26 days (270 hours) of debate on the Senate floor. That is a far cry from the two to four hours that McConnell is threatening in his desperation to pass Trumpcare.
To be clear, we should be talking about weeks & months of review, hearings & experts and floor debate. Lots of experts & amendments.3 pic.twitter.com/kcKqrps6iS
— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) June 15, 2017
It is important to note that a dismal eight percent of Americans are in favor of the passage of Trumpcare. Republicans, then, obviously have a vested interest in getting the bill passed as quickly and quietly as possible; the longer the bill is debated, the more it will be exposed for the death sentence that it is. The Congressional Budget Office has already estimated that 23 million Americans would lose health coverage and protections if this bill is passed.
If McConnell does indeed stoop to this level to get Trumpcare out of the Senate, it may be a victory for him, but it will be an overwhelming loss for the 92 percent of Americans who oppose the bill and 23 million Americans who will be immediately impacted by it. As Republicans continue their shameful crusade against the will of the American people at the behest of their imperiled leader, they should also remember that – with the 2018 midterms fast approaching – their days “representing” this country are numbered.