Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is today unveiling the new, improved version of the GOP's repeal / replace healthcare legislation. Early reports are that its success is already hanging by a thread, with enough Republican Senators against or leaning against to likely doom it. What seems to be the problem?
The problem is Republicans are facing an existential (life or death) conundrum. On the one hand, they want to keep their voters happy, because more than anything in the world they want to keep their jobs. They, and in fairness this applies to both Democrats and Republicans, would throw their mama under the bus if need be to keep their privileged positions in Congress.
But on the other hand they want to keep their wealthy special interests happy, too, for it is they who fund their political careers. Without their money they can't buy all those media ads and send out all those slick mailers. It's their special interest's money that keeps their privileged world spinning smoothly.
Their conundrum is they can't do both when it comes to healthcare. When the less affluent and steadily shrinking middle class heard "repeal and replace", they envisioned putting in place something BETTER than what they had. When the wealthy special interests heard "repeal and replace", they envisioned GUTTING federal government involvement in healthcare, resulting in a huge one TRILLION dollar +/- savings which would then come back to them as a tax cut. The American people don't care about a tax cut for the wealthy special interests, and the wealthy special interests don't care about healthcare for the American people.
The latest polls say only 12 - 17% of the American people approve of either the Republican's House or Senate healthcare plans. The American Medical Association...the doctors...and the American Hospital Association OPPOSE either of the GOP's plans because they know with 20,000,000+ fewer people being insured, they won't get paid. They'll ethically and morally still treat these people, but know they'll never get paid for their services, and will then have to charge those who are insured even more. So much for lower premiums!
Likewise AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, is OPPOSED to the GOP plans because they know it will adversely affect many / most of their 38,000,000 members. FACT: Medicaid pays the costs for 45% of all elderly nursing home residents. How are nursing homes going to provide care to these people if fewer and fewer can afford to pay? They can't just give it away! Can families bring their loved ones home and properly provide 24 / 7 care themselves?
If Congressional Republicans truly cared about healthcare for our citizens, they could vote the money needed to pay for it. But that would mean cancelling many of the special sweetheart tax breaks and subsidies the wealthy now receive, and then kissing goodbye the future financial support of the very upper crust of our society.
They're screwed if they support their constituents, and screwed if they support their benefactors. All signs now suggest the odds-on favorites to win this tug-of-war are the wealthy. Money talks. How else can you explain why Republicans go home to town hall meetings every week and try to sell a plan they know is supported by only 12% of their constituents?
Gee, what's a spineless, two-faced Congressman to do?