Trumpcare is Happening

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with House and Senate leadership in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Washington. From left, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Trump, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R- Wis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

We’re all waiting for today’s testimony from James Comey. And we have a special site set up which you’ll see momentarily to provide you with a constant stream of updates and news stories on the testimony as it unfolds. But before we get to that, I want to flag something else of extreme importance. Trumpcare, again seemingly moribund until a few days ago, looks like it’s on the verge of becoming law. Which is to say that likely tens of millions of people are about to be consigned to losing their health care coverage.

How is this happening?

To some extent, the constant drumbeat of Russia revelations has simply pushed Obamacare repeal out of the headlines. It’s not 9 dimensional chess. It’s not by design. But to a degree that is what is happening in practice. Paul Ryan gave a remarkable interview yesterday afternoon – I think on MSNBC – in which he said in so many words, the world can be burning down over there (the White House, the world) but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep passing laws that President Trump will sign.

The fix seemed to be in when Sen. Cassidy of Louisiana signaled that he was going the direction of the purported ‘GOP moderates’ in the House. Cassidy had been making a big show of how he wouldn’t accept a bill that injured people in various ways. But when Senate GOPs a few days ago rolled out the framework for a bill which was substantively similar to the House bill, Cassidy’s response was more or less: ” Okay, cool.”

The pattern is the same one from the House. The GOP moderates always cave. In this case, Cassidy was the moderate or spoke for them. So he’s signaled what’s coming.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. Passing this wildly unpopular bill defies a lot of political assumptions. But if I had to bet, I’d put my money on a 50 GOP-backed bill getting passed in the Senate pretty soon. In theory, again, that bill should get hung up between the House and the Senate, with the Freedom Caucus insisting on the original bill. In practice, I’d say that will almost certainly not happen. If a bill gets through the Senate, the House will rapidly pass it. Trump will sign it. Tens of millions will lose their care. Maybe the Senate will toss in one more year of coverage to be “moderate”. But the story will be the same.

If you want to mobilize to stop this, it has to be now, in the Senate.

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