What if they’re lying?
It’s healthcare season in Congress again, and this time it’s the Graham-Cassidy version of “destroy all healthcare, Senate edition.” It’s got a lot of features that people don’t like, as with all prior versions. That’s not the point of this post, though.
Here’s the thing. For Republicans in Congress, the best posture on Obamacare is firmly against it. Except there’s a problem. CBO scores in past repeal efforts have shown a dramatic hike in the uninsured rate and premiums. Worse, these hits seem to land mostly in Republican-controlled districts. In too many cases, senators in particular often represent an electorate that is both against and dependent on the Affordable Care Act simultaneously.
This puts them in a huge bind. Not a single person in Congress wants to be responsible for millions of their constituents losing health care, because that means they get voted out. And if they change their posture, they get voted out. Ouch. It’s a lose/lose situation. Health care is a very, very dangerous problem for members of Congress to face. If your job has ever depended on a single business deal going right, or a single point of failure not failing, you know the feeling.
Their solution? Just lie. By lying and supporting extremely outlandish health care bills that will never pass, they look like they’re taking the “hard line.” By supporting a bill that has no chance of going through, they keep the status-quo. They ensure they’ll continue to be elected for health care reform, while letting their less vulnerable colleagues take the hits. Murkowski, Collins, and of all people, Rand Paul? They’re the perfect scapegoats. By pointing out flaws in these health care initiatives, they’re able to vote no and move the goalposts so that each bill fails on a different level for them. Heck, since Republicans can only lose a handful of votes, these roles could be swapped at any time. If say, Murkowski started getting pressure, she could make a deal with another senator to swap votes for a bill. It’s really that easy, if the goal is to subtly fail each bill.
How many politicians are known for their honesty?
Note: Though they could be lying, it’s still worth calling your representatives regularly. Pressure is key. If too many people oppose the Affordable Care Act and call, then it becomes beneficial to repeal-for-real. Likewise, pressure to keep the status-quo will do the same. Keep calling.