In centuries past alchemists sought to turn dross into gold. Today’s Republicans practice a type of reverse alchemy wherein they turn gold into what we will euphemistically term dross. Case in point: The Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare.
It is now de rigueur for liberals and progressives – open minded creatures that we are – to open any discussion of Obamacare by noting that it isn’t perfect. Which is true. But there is real gold there, liberally distributed throughout all that silver and bronze. I personally am still alive – and not bankrupt – thanks to the preexisting conditions provisions in Obamacare, so I know what I’m talking about.
The past six months have seen a continuous effort on the part of the GOP to distill that gold – and the attendant silver and bronze — into the purest form of excremental dross via the congressional Obamacare dump (repeal) and dupe (replace) effort. Despite Republican efforts to relabel their stinky product as “freedom” or “access,” almost nobody was fooled. In the end, thanks to three brave Republicans who bucked the GOP Borg Collective and joined Democrats to save healthcare for Americans, we can breathe easier. For now, at least.
Unfortunately, Missouri GOP Senator Roy Blunt was not one of those brave Republicans who put our welfare above his party and its well-heeled patrons. And his response to the demise of Trumpcare does not bode well for those of us who depend on Obamacare:
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) hoped that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price could use his authority to make beneficial changes to the law. Price has previously talked about some market stability measures and helping states apply for waivers for certain ObamaCare provisions.
“I think this ends this discussion for a little while and Tom Price is going to continue to look at all of the 1,400 places in the bill that his department is responsible for defining how this might work better,” Blunt said.
At the risk of running the alchemical metaphor into the ground, Blunt’s evocation of Price is the equivalent of calling on Doctor Alchemy, the evil alchemist of the DC Comics world, to keep the reverse transformation going.
And it just might work. Price, who ” has taken every turn possible to express his displeasure with the Affordable Care Act and has suggested he’ll do little to bolster its markets,” will be running the whole regulatory shebang:
As health chief, the former Roswell congressman has nearly unparalleled power to determine how health care gets delivered in America. Through special rule makings, guidance and regulatory tweaks at HHS, Price can make what are essentially unilateral changes to loosen the grip of the Affordable Care Act or tweak aspects of Medicare that could have a major impact on doctors and patients.
Sounds to me like Senator Blunt is giving a wink and a nod to cronies in the know, effectively telegraphing that there’s more than one way to win.
If Republicans can’t manage to legislate effectively and get their way on the up and up, it seems that they’ll resort to sabotage, the will of the majority imploring them to save and “fix” Obamacare be damned. Although President Orange Bully implicitly threatened sabotage when he declared that we should just “watch” as Obamcare implodes, he wasn’t as explicit as Blunt about how they were gonna rain on our victory parade. Blunt put a name on it, and that name is Tom Price.
Dubbed “Dr. Personal Enrichment” by David Leonharadt in a New York Times’ op-ed, Price’s well-publicized medical conflicts of interest have raised eyebrows almost stratospherically high – although not high enough evidently to inspire gotta-get–mine GOP Senators like Blunt to vote against his appointment. Add to personal corruption, Price’s willingness to lie to serve political ends – Media Matters outlines several of his worst recent whoppers on the topic of healthcare – and his “ardent hostility” toward any government role in healthcare, and it doesn’t look good for those of us who depend on Obamacare.
As to Senator Blunt’s smug reminder about who holds the cards in Washington – what to say? Seriously, what can we say about the members of a party that has, in the words of D. R. Tucker “declared war on every American not wealthy enough to afford his or her medical treatment?”
While I can’t answer this question, at least not here, on the level it deserves, I can propose a micro-answer when it comes to the question of what to say right now – and who to say it to. We need to keep the pressure up on our Representatives and Senators – Roy Blunt and the GOP junior contingent in the House in this case – and let them know that we’re on to the sabotage dodge and we won’t stand for trading gold, sliver, or bronze for crap. Payback comes on election day.