Friday, September 22, 2017

The Jimmy Kimmel test

One would have thought that after the long break, Republicans would have come back with a new resolve to work with Democrats on improving the Affordable Care Act.  But, we should know better by now.  They appear to have no shame, especially Bill Cassidy who four months ago went on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! and vowed that he would not support any bill that didn't pass the "Jimmy Kimmel test."  Needless to say, Jimmy Kimmel let Bill Cassidy know what he thought about this turn of events.

Cassidy and Graham have teamed up to push yet another "last ditch" attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, which appears to be gaining traction in the Senate thanks to compromises meant to appease wayward senators like McCain and Murkowsky.  The GOP has apparently given up on Susan Collins.  They need both McCain and Murkowsky because Rand Paul is opposing the bill on different grounds.  No one is sure how many persons Paul can drag with him, but Sen. Thune seems to think the GOP is still five votes short.

So why go through this humiliation once again?  I suppose Republicans are trying to assure their constituency that they are on their side, even if it appears to be very shaky ground.  Polls show that 60% of conservatives disapprove of the way Congressional Republicans have handled health care, albeit for different reasons.  It seems Republican politicians are more concerned about losing their financial backers than they are their voters.

Sens. Graham and Cassidy's cynical bill would phase out federal subsidies over the next ten years, providing money for the much anticipated tax cuts Republicans have long been pushing.  Over a 20-year period, they project roughly $1.1 trillion would become available, therefore the tax cuts would not represent any significant increase to the national debt.

So what if the bill throws all those babies out with the bathwater, which is what has Jimmy Kimmel so upset after making his plaintive cry to the public.   He strongly felt that babies like his wouldn't have survived without the ACA because too many people don't have health insurance to cover such intensive care.

Cassidy countered on Fox & Friends that Jimmy doesn't understand the complexities of the bill.  He's not trying to kill babies.  But, the AMA and virtually all healthcare related organizations have come out in opposition to this latest Republican smoke and mirrors bill, siding with Jimmy, not Bill.

Once again it comes down to at least three Republican senators to vote no.  The Republicans appear to think they have McCain in the bank.  They are hoping to secure Lisa as a bonus, so that if they can't bring Rand Paul on board they can isolate him.  This is the way they negotiate health care.

No attempt to sit down with their own Republican governors, much less Democrats, who want to see a more comprehensive health care bill that deals with the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act.  Many Republican states signed onto Medicaid expansion when it appeared that the ACA had become the law of the land, among them Lisa Murkowski's home state of Alaska.   Many Republican states also began assessing the feasibility of hosting their own health insurance marketplaces.  This bill would wipe out all those efforts, and reward those states that remained loyal to the GOP.

This not only fails the Jimmy Kimmel test but any test of decency.  It is a horribly cynical attempt by the GOP to come up with a way to cover their proposed tax cuts, and if that means purging health insurance for 30 million Americans then so be it.

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