Lots of progressive commentators are consoling themselves for last week’s congressional healthcare disaster by telling us that the Trumpcare abomination won’t fly in the Senate where GOP “moderate” senators will prevail. Or whatever. It is true that the GOP-majority Senate has, as an entity, turned up its collective nose when confronted with the stench of the House bill and has committed to producing its very own version of Trumpcare (a.k.a. Dump & Dupe). In order to keep the Dump & Dupe momentum going , House Speaker Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) sicced a working group on the topic right away.
But before we get too optimistic about the final Senate product, consider that Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt is part of the working group. This is the same Roy Blunt who was charged in 2009 to come up with the Republican alternative to Obamacare. Remember that plan? I bet you don’t. The four page document Blunt produced was that bad. As a Kansas City Star editorial pointed out, it was short on details and long on opinion-based talking points. Nor had Blunt bothered bothered to suss out the costs of his proposals and the number of uninsured Americans it would cover. It was a sort of abbreviated GOP la-la land fantasy.
Details aren’t important to folks like Blunt whose only language is right-wing power – let the real-world consequences be damned. And he’s what passes for a Republican moderate these days. He’s already signaled that he was fine with many of the provisions of the earlier, terrible iterations of Trumpcare, asserting that ““the nucleus of the plan is clearly there.” The only part of the earlier bills he objected to was the fact “it may not be a plan that gets a majority of votes and lets us move on.”
Nor is Roy Blunt a lone ranger in the Senate. Still feeling optimistic about the Senate’s take on Dump & Dupe?
When Blunt offered his four-page outline back in 2009, the House Speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), averred that “we have to be careful not to impede what works in the current system,” adding that “we take the current health care system and make it better for all Americans.” If it strikes you that this might be a good idea today – take what works in Obamacare – which is a lot – and make it better, perhaps you should phone old Roy and let him know that this is what you’d like to see come out of the Senate. Republicans can always save face by calling it Trumpcare.
Of course, that particular course of action would require that Blunt and his Senate GOP cronies actually cared about their constituents.
So maybe you should also let Senator Blunt know that you’ll remember whose fault it is if he helps Freedom yodelers like Ann Wagner do our healthcare in. He won’t be up for election for several years, but it isn’t only elephants who don’t forget.