Remember that time like two months ago when Maverick McCain cast a decisive vote to defeat the heinous “skinny repeal” of the ACA, which was actually the least heinous of the GOP’s healthcare plans that month, all of which would have thrown millions of Americans off insurance and made it harder for those with pre-existing conditions to get care? Remember that sigh of relief we breathed, and remember the optimism from last week when Bernie Sanders introduced single-payer legislation that came with more support than it ever has before?
Well, suck that sigh back into your lungs, amigos, because the ghouls are back, and their new plan is on the verge of having enough support to actually pass. Last week, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced a new repeal plan, Mitch McConnell is currently gauging interest and considering a vote, and Graham is rallying Republicans by urging them not to retreat on healthcare with “their tails between their legs.” At the moment, there’s a sense that they have 49 votes in the Senate, just one vote shy of passing the thing and sending it to the House. Graham went on Breitbart Radio this past weekend to brag about how his plan was “Bernie Sanders’ worst nightmare,” and to urge listeners to call their reps and badger them to hold a vote on repealing Obamacare.
And in case you were thinking the current bill is somehow more moderate or acceptable than the old ones, well…you don’t know Republicans. The fact is, this is the same “kick millions of health insurance, gut Medicaid, and give tax breaks to rich people and corporations” boondoggle that we saw before. It may even be worse? The Congressional Budget Office is currently reviewing the bill to give exact estimates, but here’s a taste of what you can expect:
MoveOn's Ben Winkler had a terrific Twitter thread on the bill, which he called the “Medicaid Abolition” act:
(Click that tweet to read the rest.)
Senate Republicans can only use their “50 votes to repeal” loophole until Sept. 30, so there's a strict deadline in place here. There are rumors that McCain has come around, but Rand Paul is currently against, and you'd have to imagine that Murkowski and Collins are too. (Donald Trump has already telegraphed his support, but that didn't mean much last time.)
As for those of us who have no choice but to hold our breaths and watch it play out, there's really just one thing left to do: