Christopher Hamsher: Details on health care bill matter
September 20, 2017
I never go online to shop and only look at the price but not at the reviews. You don’t either. But that is what the United States Senate might do next week.
One of our political parties is working a last ditch plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act before a deadline that means they would need to consult with the other party. That might make sense as naked politics. But it makes no sense as policy.
Details matter. And before this rushed vote is taken, the Congressional Budget Office will only be able to say what the Cassidy-Graham bill will cost but not what it will do. The CBO said so itself: https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53116
This is so irresponsible it defies description. This process would not be good enough for a $20 decision. No one but a fool asks “how much does it cost?” without also asking “is it any good?” or “what does it do?”
This should turn the stomach of even the most vocal Obamacare critic. We wouldn’t accept our local City Council casting their votes before they knew what they were voting on. They wouldn’t even think of being so foolish.
It is reckless to do this to about one-fifth of the United States economy, because it could send healthcare sideways. It is wrong to do this to the State of Colorado, because it could harm our budget. It is immoral to do this to us as voters, because this decision could cost people’s lives.
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Here’s a new rule of thumb: our Senators should be at least as cautious as an online shopper when they cast their vote. No, wait … they must be better. They must hold hearings, hear commentary and read a complete CBO analysis before they vote. They must talk to each other and consider the details.
People will remember this slip-shod, Hail Mary process if things go wrong. And with a rush job like this, it seems likely things will go wrong.
Will one of our Senators really vote for a major a bill when he doesn’t even know what it will do? He will need to answer that question in his own conscience.
Christopher D. Hamsher