Health care isn’t the only issue on which lies are coming back to bite the liars. The same story is playing out on other issues — in fact, on almost every substantive policy issue the U.S. faces.
On Saturday pretty much the entire medical sector — groups representing doctors, hospitals and insurers — released an extraordinary open letter condemning the Graham-Cassidy health bill. The letter was written in the style of Emile Zola’s “J’accuse”: a series of paragraphs, each beginning with the bolded words “We agree,” pointing out the bill’s many awful features, from the harm it would do to people with pre-existing conditions to the chaos it would cause in insurance markets.
It takes a truly terrible proposal to elicit such eloquent unanimity from organizations that are usually cautious to the point of stodginess. So how did Republicans come up with something that bad, and how did that bad thing get so close to becoming law? Indeed, it still has a chance of being enacted despite John McCain’s “no.”
The answer is that Republicans have spent years routinely lying for the sake of political advantage. And now — not just on health care, but across the board — they are trapped by their own lies, forced into trying to enact policies they know won’t work.
Reporting on why the GOP plowed ahead with Graham-Cassidy makes it clear that many Republicans supporting it are well aware that it’s a bad bill, although they may not appreciate just how bad. “You know, I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa. “But,” he continued, “Republicans have campaigned on this,” meaning repeal-and-replace, and had to fulfill their promise.
Carl Hulse of The New York Times adds more detail: One big factor behind the push for Graham-Cassidy was anger among big donors, who wanted to know why Republicans had broken their vows to kill Obamacare.
But repealing the Affordable Care Act wasn’t the only thing Republicans promised; they also promised to replace it with something better and cheaper, doing away with all the things people don’t like about Obamacare without creating any new problems. Remember, it was Bill Cassidy, not Jimmy Kimmel, who came up with the “Jimmy Kimmel test,” the pledge that nobody would be denied health care because of expense.
Yet Republicans never had any idea how to fulfill that promise and meet that test,…