Thursday, May 04, 2017


Republicans in the House are trying to pass a new health care law, but -- in a near-echo of René Magritte -- what they and other Obamacare-repeal advocates, (especially) White House officials, are saying about the potential law is: This is not a law.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) ... pushed the idea that Republicans just need to pull the trigger on this bill because it will change. “This thing is going to go to the United States Senate. It’s going to change in my view,” he said on NPR.

... White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday it is "literally impossible" to judge the impact of the bill. For his part, Trump, in interviews and conversations with associates, has seemed to care little about what the legislation says.

... White House officials have argued to lawmakers that the bill will look totally different in the Senate and they just need political momentum. "Everyone knows this won't be the final product," one senior administration official said. "So if you don't like something, it's fine."

... Joe Antos, a health care expert at the American Enterprise Institute, a center-right think tank, said hardly anyone is pleased with the bill.

... "The problem is they're voting on a bill that will not make it to the president's office,” Antos said, while adding, “It could facilitate some bill making it to the president's desk.”
So Republicans are presumably going to vote on a bill that actually exists, then go back to their districts and tell critics that they shouldn't worry about any provisions they don't like, because the bill they will have just voted on, and will have praised themselves for passing, does not exist in any fixed form, therefore nothing bad in it actually exists or will exist.

Except that some of the objectionable provisions in the House-passed version are going to be in the final bill, assuming that both the House and Senate pass variant versions of the bill and then move to reconciliation. Maybe most of the objectionable provisions will be in the final bill. Maybe the bill that passes the House today will get worse as the legislative process continues.

But meanwhile, I think House Republicans are going to treat critics as if they're seeing things that aren't there. Hey, this isn't going to be the final bill, you paranoid liberal! What we passed is just a collection of floating signifiers that are in free play and have no fixed meaning!

That won't help you when you lose your health insurance down the line. But it will help Republicans bullshit their way through the next few weeks.

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