I wrote a couple of days ago that, when a civilization implodes, the idiots are put in charge. That phenomenon was on full display yesterday in Washington. The Republicans in the House of Representatives narrowly passed their new health care bill -- which had not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, which had not been examined in public hearings, and which several Republicans admitted they hadn't read. Ross Barkan writes:
Were an alien to wander down to Earth and examine the functionality of American democracy in 2017, it would find an intellectual graveyard. Lawmakers tasked with carefully considering remarkably complex legislation with the potential to significantly alter the lives of millions of people are instead rushing to vote for a bill that they know almost nothing about and that no outside expert has had the time to seriously assess. This is insanity.
Insanity is not too strong a word:
The healthcare bill will funnel $100bn to states over a decade to stabilize what are sure to be markets wracked by chaos, assuming this legislation survives intact to Trump’s desk. Amendments provide another $30bn to states with few strings attached. If somehow all of this money is used just for the high-risk pools, it will come out to $138bn, which sounds impressive enough. But most healthcare researchers believe a competently run national high-risk pool would cost much more.
Factoring in lifetime caps on coverage and longer waiting periods, one 2010 estimate from two conservative health economists found such a pool would cost $150bn-$200bn over a decade. Other recent estimates believe the price tag to be much higher.
Obamacare isn't perfect. It needs some repair. But, for seven years, the Republicans have repeated one refrain -- repeal. Paul Ryan claims to be a policy wonk. Yesterday he stood revealed in the light of day for the fool he is. The president is an even bigger fool. All those economically ravaged people who voted for him will soon find out that they have been fools.
And, when that happens, the Republicans will become politically radioactive. As Nancy Pelosi predicted, they will "glow in the dark."
Image: Wallpaper Cave