VOX lists what emerged from the final draft of yesterday’s farrago, or, rather what the House Freedom Caucus wanted stricken from the final bill:
– Outpatient care without a hospital admission, known as ambulatory patient services
– Emergency services
– Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
– Mental health and substance use disorder services, including counseling and psychotherapy
– Prescription drugs
– Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, which help people with injuries and disabilities to recover
– Laboratory services
– Preventive care, wellness services, and chronic disease management
– Pediatric services, including oral and vision care for children.
A lot of pixels have been spilled on the basic hypocrisy of the procedural aspects of the AHCA. But the real issue here is about substance, not process. Making public policy is hard. The CBO is a tool to help make sure members of Congress understand what they’re doing. They are not using that tool, and consequently, they are flying blind — voting for a series of interlocking changes that will drastically impact tens of millions of people’s lives with no idea what is going to happen.
Most egregiously of all, at this point the tempo is apparently being dictated by Donald Trump’s personal pique at recalcitrant House members.
A president with no interest in the details of public policy is impatient with the idea that House members might care what the content of the bills they pass is, and has decided to make passing this law a test of personal loyalty to him.
“When anyone tells you that Steve Bannon invented the notion of destroying the ‘administrative state,’ laugh in their face,’ Charles Pierce wrote yesterday. “This has been an ongoing project of American conservatism that goes back even before JFK warned us about accelerating technology. They’ve been at this a long time.” So they have. The Freedom Caucus’ fetish for “choice” reminds me of the “choices” that Comcast offers me monthly, or the “choices” offered by a fast food joint: options designed to spend you into penury so that the options become unavailable to you for all time; you’ve been sucked dry. And if you can’t afford to play you’re out of luck.