Richard McGinnis: Why keep the Senate Healthcare plan a secret? | SteamboatToday.com

Richard McGinnis: Why keep the Senate Healthcare plan a secret?

While we worry about the Russians interfering with our democracy and who lied about what, the Senate Republican leadership is quietly hijacking our system of government.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has invoked a rule that will allow the Senate version of the Affordable Health Care Act to move directly to the floor with no hearings, no discussion, no amendments, no opportunity for bipartisan support, and perhaps, no time to even read it. They plan to do this before the Fourth of July.

The majority of senators won't even know what they are voting for or against. Since the bill can move through the budget reconciliation process, it can pass with 51 votes instead of the 60 votes required for most legislation.

We can assume the bill will not be identical to the bill that passed the House. But, since this one has been developed in secret by 13 senators, who are all Republicans and all men, we really don’t know. Our own Senator Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, is one of the 13.

While the details will probably be different from the House bill, the overall effect is expected to be the same. We can assume there will be a massive tax cut for the wealthy, almost entirely benefiting the top 1 percent.

We can expect a significant reduction in Medicaid funding, which will limit access to health care for the most vulnerable. The House bill is estimated to result in the loss of insurance for 23 million people. We can expect the Senate bill to have a similar effect.

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And we can expect that the Senate bill will also result in significant insurance premium increases for those with pre-existing conditions and anyone over 50. However, since the plan seems to be for the bill to be voted on without any hearings, debate or discussion, the Senate may be voting before anyone has time to analyze it.

The ACA was created after 14 months of hearings and amendments including many proposed by Republicans. It was not drafted behind closed doors and rushed through without discussion or analysis.
This is legislation which directly impacts almost every American, and almost 20 percent of the U.S. economy. Whether you are one of the 61 percent of Americans who support keeping the current ACA and improving rather than repealing it, or you are one of the 37 percent who say they want it entirely repealed and replaced (ABC/Washington POST), you deserve a thoughtful, open and deliberative process.

The Senate needs to let the American people know what it is considering, and most importantly, the 13 Republicans and the Senate Leadership need to let the rest of the Senate know and have time to fully understand what they are being asked to vote for or against.

Call, email, fax, write and do whatever you can to tell them to stop this secrecy now — Senator Cory Gardner: 303-391-5777, Denver office; 202-224-5941, Washington, D.C. office; Senator Michael Bennet: 303-455-7600, Denver office; 202-224-5852, Washington, D.C. office; Senator Mitch McConnell: 202-224-2541, Washington, D.C. office.

Richard McGinnis
Steamboat Springs

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