Senate Dems: GOP Health Bill Secretive, In Contrast To Obamacare

The secretive way in which Republicans are drafting the current health care bill bears no resemblance to how Democrats put together Obamacare seven years ago, Senate Democrats argue. 

With only a few weeks remaining before the make-or-break August recess deadline, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have bemoaned the back-room crafting of Senate Republicans’ American Health Care Act, a draft of which could come as early as Thursday.

Most Senate Democrats agree with that sentiment. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the difference between Republican and Democratic handling of health care “night and day.” Perhaps the primary voice of Democratic resistance, Schumer recently called for a full meeting of the Senate to discuss the bill. Not only was that request denied, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also questioned what, exactly, all the fuss is about.

Conservative strategist Ford O’Connell lent credibility to McConnell’s original point, noting the primary Democratic goal was to gum up the works.

“There is no question that Republicans could be more open on this,” he said, “but we also know that, when it comes to something as complicated as health care, nobody can have their negotiations in public because you’re never going to get to a ‘yes.’” O’Connell went on to call the closed-door Democratic process of seven years ago “the same thing” happening today.

One difference O’Connell noted between the two scenarios, however, is the majority numbers in both the House and Senate. In 2010, Democratic majorities in the House and Senate were 76 and 18, respectively; in 2017, Republicans control those respective chambers by only 45 and four. The AHCA, which passed by a razor-thin 217-213 House vote on May 4, faces an even slimmer margin of error in the Senate, especially with moderate Republican senators like Susan Collins.

“[Democrats] will get primaried if they vote for health care reform, at least as it is understood right now,” said O’Connell, in his explanation of why there is limited interest in supporting a measure that has President Trump’s approval. “What they’re hoping to do is to run out the clock before the 2018 midterms and fire up their base.” 

Read more from Ford Carson at

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