Trumpcare: The Substance Doesn’t Matter

By on September 22, 2017
The Graham-Cassidy version of Trumpcare would end Medicaid as we know it.

Senate Republicans have a little over a week left in their quest to kill Obamacare and replace with Trumpcare — a law that will result in millions being thrown off insurance coverage altogether, while those who are miraculously able to afford it are likely to see big premium increases.

At this point, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) are likely “no” votes, meaning the GOP can’t afford to lose anyone else. John McCain (R-AZ) has also indicated he will vote “no” on the bill.

What’s more notable, however, is that this bill is worse than all the other versions of Trumpcare that Republicans have put forward this year, but they are so desperate to kill Obamacare, it might be the one that has the best chance of succeeding.

Earlier this week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) put it best.

“You know, I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered,” Grassley said. “But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That’s pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill.”

Campaign promises over substance? That’s what we’ve come to? It looks that way.

“The substance really doesn’t matter,” said Kathy Hempstead, who is in charge of coverage programs at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She compared it to trying to kill a zombie that keeps coming back, but conceded, “We’re not talking about killing a zombie. We’re talking about how we finance health care for 100 million people.”

In the end, the impact on actual Americans will end up mattering little in this debate. The GOP is desperate for a legislative victory. They’ve campaigned for years on the platform of killing Obamacare and still haven’t managed to come up with an actual alternative to the plan that’s palatable. To them, it’s about proving they can govern (which they can’t) rather than trying to make good policy.