We don't know if the health bill will pass!


But Kevin Drum may well be right:
We don't know if the GOP health bill will pass the Senate next week.

It may not pass the Senate at all! Sadly, though, we have to say that Kevin Drum's assessment could be right.

Yesterday, Drum offered a set of predictions and possibilities. Every part of this could turn out to be right:
DRUM (6/23/17): This is just a note about the Senate health care bill. Do not believe any prattle about Mitch McConnell “being OK with a loss.” Or about “moderate Republicans” who will vote against it. Or about conservatives who are “revolting.” Or about “desperate attempts” to hold the Republican caucus together.

Next week the CBO will release its score of the bill. They will confirm that it doesn’t increase the deficit. The Senate will debate for a day or two; pass a few minor amendments; and then pass the bill. The vote will be 51-50, with Vice President Pence breaking the tie.

If Paul Ryan is smart, he will simply bring up the Senate bill for a vote and be done with it. It will pass because everyone will understand that this is their only chance. Either vote yes, or else give up on repealing Obamacare and give Democrats a big win.
It may not work out that way at all. On the other hand, those predictions could well be right. The bill will pass the Senate, then pass the House in identical form.

We'll offer one small caveat. It concerns that 51-50 vote.

Why is Drum predicting that Pence will have to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate? Presumably, he thinks McConnell may grant "free passes" to two Republican senators. He'll let them vote against the bill for political reasons involving their standing in their (blue-leaning) home states.

That used to be the way it was done, but a problem arose. When an unpopular or controversial bill passes on a tie vote, or by a one-vote margin, that means that everyone who voted yes has "cast the deciding vote."

If the Republicans pass this bill on a 50-50 vote in the Senate, all fifty Republicans could be attacked that way in a future general election campaign. But hold on! If the bill passes the Senate on a 51-49 vote, that means that no one has "cast the deciding vote!"

For this silly rhetorical reason, the tactic has shifted away from passing an unpopular bill by the narrowest possible margin. In this case, that would mean that McConnell would grant only one "free pass," and the bill would pass the Senate, 51-49.

Pence wouldn't have to break the tie. He could continue to travel all over the country, nefariously raising buckets of money for his "legal defense," the way he's been doing of late in the fever dreams of our resistance.

(It's also possible, of course, that two Republicans will insist on voting no, producing that rhetorically unhelpful tie.)

Drum's predictions may all turn out to be right. Unfortunately, the rest of his post is accurate too—accurate and darkly illustrative:
DRUM (continuing): The only way to break this cycle is to generate some new opposition. Senate Republicans already know that Democrats oppose the bill, AARP opposes the bill, hospitals oppose the bill, and so forth. They don’t care. The Democrats won’t vote for them no matter what they do and the others aren’t threatening to withdraw campaign support. They oppose the bill, but only on paper. They also know that their bill will take away health coverage from millions. They don’t care about that either. They never have.

This is it. There’s a week left. Lefties need to generate some new opposition to the bill that wavering senators are actually afraid of. Any ideas?
There you have it. With one week left, Drum says we lefties need to generate new opposition to the bill.

What he says may well be right. But it's much too late for our brilliant resistance to accomplish any such task. Who can we recruit, after all? We already have Johnny Depp!

This call for help is much too late. It's thirty years too late.

Over that stretch of time, we lefties have diddled and clowned and partied and played and let ourselves be endlessly conned by our putative intellectual leaders.

In truth, we just aren't especially bright. Our attention span? It doesn't exist. Gnats feel sorry for us!

Except within our own sweet dreams, we're remarkably ineffective. Making matters worse, we're almost insanely self-impressed and defiantly self-deluded.

According to U.S. officials, we're among the least savvy people who ever drew breath on the planet. Scientifically, this fact has been proven within the past year. But as proof of our general haplessness, we're unable to process this fact about Ineffectual Us.

We plan to return to the topic of health care next week, reviewing decades of liberal/progressive ineptitude. We'll also peruse this remarkable text at the new and improved Salon.

Truly, it's a seminal text. It portrays the self-defeating soul of the group known as Ridiculous Us. That remarkable text is built upon the rock of our tribe's self-delusion.


  1. Drum asks for new ideas, help. What does Somerby offer? Same old same old.

    Somerby is just as out of ideas as those he chides.

    1. He's not chiding anyone for being out of ideas. Where are you getting that from? He's just saying that it's too late to start trying to stop this bill.

    2. Well it's not too late. Call your Senator's district offices. It doesn't make any difference what party they represent, just call. Staff are registering opposition to this legislation as well as support and they won't know how unpopular this bill is unless you call. Don't let Bob's fatalism deter you from registering your disgust with the Senate's tax cut masquerading as insurance reform. And don't think think that it won't harm you. There's a roll back of provisions that lift lifetime limits of employer provided health insurance hidden in this legislation.
      I know that Somerby's blog is about media criticism and discourse, but stopping this bill is too important to waste time debating the merits of watching a corporate sponsored fake liberal network.

  2. Unfortunately, it's easier to analyze the politics than the technical merit. The ACA was badly designed. That's why more and more insurance companies dropped out. The Republican bill is designed even worse.

    A reasonable plan for governmental health care is theoretically possible, but sadly we're not going to get one from either party.

    1. That's because one of the parties compromises.

    2. Let me ask you a very important question:

      Upon finding yourself stuck in a crowded elevator and realizing a rather foul odor, do you:

      1. Play dumb
      2. Deny your involvement
      3. Blame it on the person to your left
      4. Claim complete responsibility

      If you chose the last option, then you should visit my site. Just click on my name/link above. You will be most pleased.

  3. "At the center of both our flawed current system and its disastrous proposed replacement is a more fundamental reality: health care in the United States is enormously costly, often in ways that are baffling not only to patients but to doctors themselves."


    1. Doctors in the US are part of the problem...


    2. Koch Bros oppose McConnellcare-- not conservative enough


  4. Republican political initiatives when they fail in Congress don't fail a little, they don't lose by a single vote. When they fail, the collapse altogether. It's the difference between the DeVos nomination and the Puzder nomination. Democrats play in McConnnell's hands when they see winning a fight in the senate getting one vote at a time. McConnell has planned for that. He has held in reserve concessions swing state senators want, and want to be seen gaining for their constituents. As the deadline approaches, Mitch will simply parcel them out one by one until he gets the majority he wants.

  5. The tax cut for insurance executives should be personalized, for example. There has been a lot of talk about the tax cuts all lumped together. They should be picked apart.
    Bob Gardner
    Randolph, MA

  6. GOP Obamacare repeal bill threatens chaos


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