Friday, January 13, 2017

Decidedly Unfunny


I usually write the weekend humor column or blog post on Friday mornings...but what happened while everybody was asleep the past few nights was decidedly unfunny...


While you were sleeping the past few nights, the Republican Senate voted against providing coverage for pre existing conditions, contraceptive and maternity coverage and against allowing kids to stay on their parents insurance until the age of 26. This would be ok if there was another plan in place but there isn't! Just cut it and have nothing. That makes a lot of sense. Congratulations.. These are the people you voted for...or didn't vote for, thus voting for them anyway.


Wednesday night began cute, with folks talking about "Vote-a-Rama" with the Senate sitting in session well into Thursday morning, and rookie Republican Senator Todd Young sending snack food to the press gallery. It gradually became less cute as the night became the morning. The Democratic minority kept offering amendment after amendment, all of which failed by the narrow margin by which the Republicans control the Senate.



Then, around one o'clock in the morning, the actual mugging occurred, and millions of Americans awoke to the news that their newly acquired healthcare—and the newly acquired peace of mind that came with it—was going up in smoke.


The key moment came at about one in the morning when Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, withdrew his amendment that would have pushed the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act back to the beginning of March.




Defenders of the law had set great store by the Corker amendment, which seemed to indicate that the Republican majority was both a) afraid to stand the gaff that will come when people lose their healthcare, and b) realizing that repealing the ACA without a viable replacement would cause actual chaos.


That unicorn died in the dead of night.


The Republican congressional majorities want this law dead because they have a theological belief that this is not the job of government. They want what they want when they want it, and they have the power to get it and the towering gall to get it done by any means necessary. The president-elect doesn't know enough about the subject to throw to a cat. So there we are.


The final vote, which ended just before 1:30 a.m., followed a marathon session in which senators took back-to-back roll call votes on numerous amendments, an arduous exercise known as a vote-a-rama. The approval of the budget blueprint, coming even before President-elect Donald J. Trump is inaugurated, shows the speed with which Republican leaders are moving to fulfill their promise to repeal President Obama's signature domestic policy achievement — a goal they believe can now be accomplished after Mr. Trump's election.


The action by the Senate is essentially procedural, setting the stage for a special kind of legislation called a reconciliation bill. Such a bill can be used to repeal significant parts of the health law and, critically, is immune from being filibustered. Congress appears to be at least weeks away from voting on legislation repealing the law.




But don't worry. Help is on the way. Pay your doctor with cheesy metaphors. And, as the Reverend Ike used to say, pie in the sky by and by when you die.


"The Obamacare bridge is collapsing, and we're sending in a rescue team," said Senator Michael B. Enzi, Republican of Wyoming and the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. "Then we'll build new bridges to better health care, and finally, when these new bridges are finished, we'll close the old bridge." Republican leaders say they will work closely with Mr. Trump developing legislation to repeal and replace the health care law, but it is unclear exactly how his team will participate in that effort.


The amendments proposed by the Democrats and defeated by the Republicans were designed to put the majority on the wrong side of the most popular aspects of the law. It was really all they had left, but, in six months, when all those people who voted for the president-elect secure in the knowledge that he'd never do what he promised to do, discover that their pre-existing conditions suddenly matter again, the odds are that they will blame themselves or The Government or liberals or Barack Obama and nobody will remember how the mugging happened, and the rain will wash away the chalk outline of the victim from the sidewalk. And the death of the Affordable Care Act will become a cold case, an unsolved mystery mouldering in a pauper's grave.


People don't understand the Affordable Care Act...They don't understand how they got their health insurance...but they'll damn sure know who took it from them!

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