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Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave: The Republicans Unending Dishonesty about Health Care


Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!                (Sir Walter Scott)

For seven years, the Republicans lied about Obamacare, and whipped their base into a frenzy about what a terrible thing it is for the government to move the United States closer to doing for its citizens what every other advanced society does for their people: provide decent, affordable health care.

More than 50 times, they repealed this bill, which was designed to change the status quo in which some 45,000 Americans died every year because of the way our society fails its citizens, as nowhere else in the free world.

Today, the House has passed a bill — in great haste, lest the truth catch up with them before they could perpetrate yet another fraud — to “repeal and replace” Obamacare– just as they’d promised.

Here’s what I imagine was their political calculation.

Because of their lies, there’s nothing they can do that is without political costs.

“Democrats plan to tattoo every provision of this bill to the foreheads of Republicans. “You will glow in the dark,’ Pelosi said,” Huffington Post reports.

That will be one cost.

But the almost certain death of the bill in the Senate protects them against the higher costs that would come were the bill to be enacted and tens of millions of people started to suffer and die as a result of the terrible Republican retooling of America’s health care system.

The Republican lawmakers will suffer, in other words, only for the more abstract reality of having supported something terrible rather than for the palpable reality of Americans actually experiencing in their lives the terrible thing the Republicans today voted to inflict on them.*

Against that cost, they had to weigh the costs of quite visibly failing to keep that promise — repeated so many times, over so many years — to slay the Monster that they’ve painted the Affordable Care Act as being.

Having “failed” to deliver on their fraudulent promise, in other words, would be more visible to their base than the terrible realities of this law, if today’s bill never actually changes anything.

That’s why some “moderate” Republicans were willing to pretend that yesterday’s $8 billion to deal with the withdrawal of protections for people with pre-existing conditions was more than an almost-empty gesture.

So to cover up their old frauds, they’ve now committed yet another fraud. This looks like one more “repeal” of Obamacare that is pure manipulative political theater (as well as really a way of taking almost a trillion dollars out of health care to give to the richest people in America as a tax cut).

None of this will look good. When the CBO report comes out, the devastation this bill would inflict will become clear. They’ve just chosen what they think is the least politically costly path available.

What a web they’ve woven for themselves, having been dishonest about health care reform since Obama became president.


*I am assuming that this bill will not pass the Senate. If the House Republicans do not share that assumption, then my analysis of their political calculations is also incorrect.



  • RobertColgan

    One rather strange phenomenon (among the many weirdnesses we’ve seen in the campaigning and election) is the belief shared by many Americans–most of whom are Trump supporters—that the PPACA is a scourge of Biblical proportion foisted on America by the Democrats, and by especially the Democratic black Muslim president born a Kenyan, Hussein Barack Obama.

    While it is true the PPACA was a terrible piece of legislation that almost no one read in its entirety, that was crafted by a Republican and Democrat committee most of whom were solidly underwritten by Big PHRMA and Insurance sellers, that protected those Pharmaceutical and Insurance interests, that did little or nothing to cap costs or protect consumers from Insurers’ abandonment, that was construed to be a “tax” by judicial interpretation (corporate protection, anyone?), that left without any coverage approximately 20 odd million citizens, that failed to mandate States to adopt Medicaid coverage for their poorest and most vulnerable—————–it was at least a half-assed attempt to alter the playing field for many who didn’t have medical costs protection.

    In a nation in which most home foreclosures are attributable to unpaid huge medical bills the PPACA was mere window dressing: and everyone in DC knows it.

    Genuine healthcare can only come from a national program such as most other industrialized democratic countries have had in place for years.

    But claiming it is that Biblical scourge, claiming it is leading America a downward spiral toward ruination and that getting rid of it is in the best interest of everyone in America?
    Even the Repubs don’t believe their own bullshit on this one . . . .yet like stubborn children trying to push over a large unmoving rock they decided to push over—-they could not stop trying to repeal it.
    They had no idea what will happen if the rock were to start rolling, whether it could cause harm………..they plainly just don’t give a damn.

    You are entirely correct, Mr Schmookler.

    • Really tragic we didn’t just do Medicare for All. Thanks a LOT Joe Lieberman et al…