Senator McCaskill calls out AHCA’s shambolic legislative product and process

Senator McCaskill blasted Republicans yesterday over the lack of hearings or basic transparency in Republicans’ effort to ram the AHCA through the Senate.

As Jonathan Chait and others note, Republicans have done everything to pass AHCA they falsely accused Democrats of doing to pass the Affordable Care Act eight years ago. ACA included dozens of hearings over many months, the Senate HELP committee and the Senate Finance committee adopted dozens of Republican amendments. They would have adopted many more, had Republicans not made the basic strategic decision to drag out the process and then simply bloc vote against ACA. AHCA is obviously a slipshod and rushed legislative product, being rammed through with no hearings, enacted in the House before a proper CBO score. In the rush to reach 50-percent+1, I expect some staffer’s girlfriend will be accidentally enacted into law.

A great irony of this process: President Obama paid a heavy political price because he entered the process with the avowed hope of bringing people together. He specifically incentivized Republican intransigence because he ran as someone who could heal Washington and bring people together. Whatever else happened, Republicans were determined that President Obama never be the person who brought people together. Democrats paid a policy price, too, making key concessions to Republicans and to their own party’s most conservative members. The Democratic party base probably won’t tolerate a similar strategy again.

Republicans never promised to engage Democrats in the process. And they are bluntly ramming things through. They won’t pay a particular political prices for that. But they will pay a heavy price for producing a substandard product that will hurt millions of people.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

One thought on “Senator McCaskill calls out AHCA’s shambolic legislative product and process”

  1. I think it's possible that the GOP (if it manages to lose its majority despite the usual advantages) may indeed pay a political price for its one-party rule. Only the oldest of the democratic politicians and the punditocracy remember a time when republicans acted in anything like good faith, and most of them will be retiring in the next few cycles.

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