I’ve read the bill text of the American HealthCare Act, most of it twice. I’ve read a lot of the talking points coming out of the White House, Leaders in Congress and department heads, and seen a lot of televised interviews with the same folks selling the bill. I like a lot of what I’ve read and heard, ESPECIALLY the provisions on reforming Medicaid and the provisions defunding Planned Parenthood. I understand that this bill is step one in a three-step process, and that the process known as Congressional Reconciliation has its limitations.
On the flip side, American Enterprise Institute has a terrific write-up on the bill’s flaws, which you can see here. Conservative Review has a laundry list of preferred changes, which you can see here. Both are worth your time.
Here’s my complaint: No one seems to have any idea how much this bill might cost. I know a CBO score is coming, but the White House, via Press Secretary Sean Spicer, is preemptively trying to discredit the score, saying yesterday, “if you’re looking to the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place.”
Okay, fine. I can’t remember a time when CBO has done Republicans or conservatives any favors, ever. So, pushing CBO aside, do the bill’s authors know what the burden will be on the American taxpayer? Better yet, what are the savings for the average consumer? The average family? The average employer? The private sector, in general?
How is any responsible Member of Congress supposed to vote for this – or any bill, for that matter – without knowing how much the darn thing costs? If we accept the premise that CBO’s score cannot be trusted (and I’ll grant that premise!), then it is incumbent on the bill’s authors to provide these answers. So far, they haven’t.
And I find the lack of information on real-world costs and real-world savings to be a tremendous oversight on the part of those selling the bill. If this bill is the “culmination of a years-long process,” as many in Congress are repeating, how did no one stop to find the raw data that can prove that these policy prescriptions are the correct way forward?
We can debate which policy prescriptions will help, but I’m more interested in how much these policy prescriptions will help and how much will they cost. Let’s not make the same mistake Nancy Pelosi made in demanding the bill be passed, before we find out how much it will cost the country. That’s how 20 Trillion dollar debts are made.
Liberals speak in platitudes and talking points. Conservatives need to hold ourselves — and should want to be held to — a higher standard.