A group of Senate Republican men have been meeting in secret for weeks, trying to craft their own health care plan, which is reportedly near completion. Once it's done, the GOP blueprint will, oddly enough, remain a secret, Axios reported yesterday:
Senate Republicans are working to finish their draft health care bill, but have no plans to publicly release it, according to two senior Senate GOP aides.
"We aren't stupid," said one of the aides.
It's important to understand the sentiment behind the comment. The Senate Republican aide was effectively conceding that the GOP proposal will be awful and unpopular, and it'd be "stupid" to let the public see it because the scrutiny would risk derailing the entire effort.
The plan, therefore, is for conservative senators to finalize a plan, quietly share it with the Congressional Budget Office, and then rush it onto the floor for a vote. There would no hearings, no amendments, no expert testimony, no input from industry stakeholders, no bipartisan negotiations, and no transparency.
The word "un-American" is probably used a bit too often, usually to impugn others' patriotism, but in the case of Republicans overhauling the nation's health care system, the process is un-American in a rather literal sense. In the United States, we have a legislative system elected officials are supposed to use to pursue their goals and policy priorities. In 2017, however, Congress' GOP majority has decided to abandon the American policymaking model, without defense or explanation, while pushing life-or-death legislation affecting one-sixth of the world's largest economy.
There is nothing like this in the American tradition. Republican leaders are being so secretive about their health care overhaul that even other GOP senators have no idea what they'll soon be asked to pass. Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said yesterday's he's "curious" what's in his party's proposal, before adding, "It's not a good process."
You don't say.