The Secrecy of the Senate Health Care Bill

 

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Opinion by Reporting San Diego

Jun 20, 2017 (San Diego) Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has offered 10 hours for Senators to review a bill that will affect all Americans and one-fourth of the economy. The bill was written behind closed doors, and there have been no hearings. For the moment, there is no score from the Congressional Budget Office either. The latter is expected to be all but nice. We know that the American Healthcare Act (AHCA,) dubbed Trumpcare, will leave over 23 million Americans without coverage.

The problem with this is the secrecy. In a working democracy this does not happen. However, in something different from a democracy, or open government, this does happen, regularly. When policy is developed in secret, policy that will affect every citizen and resident of the United States, we have quietly moved away from the principles of open government that allow us, in theory, to govern ourselves.

This is not a simple matter. Nor, in spite of all protestations from Majority Leader McConnell, following a pattern set by Democrats. Debates for the Affordable Care Act, took over year and a half, and were open. Myself, I read several documents that were close to final versions of the act. Those were readily available on line.

It seems that a form of amnesia has hit the Republican leadership, who has decided to do all they can to hide their legislation from the public. Forget their Senate colleagues from the minority party. Why is the Senate Leader not holding hearings where the public, and experts, can assess the bill? Why are we not seeing copies of the document, so the public can assess this act? Let alone, we have yet to see the CBO score. Possibly is because they know it will not be popular. Taking away healthcare from 23 million Americans is not only politically unsound, but cruel beyond belief.

It is also extremely bad public health policy, and a recipe for the spread of disease though epidemics. It is also a recipe for a sick population that cannot be as productive as it would be if healthy. If we ever need to enact the draft, it is also bad for national security. A sick population will not produce draftees for the military that are healthy enough for the meat grinder.

Those who labor in the shadows fear backlash. So it is time to point this out. The majority party in the US Senate is acting like the governments of many authoritarian regimes around the world. Who do they fear? The American people?



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