The NYT on the artful language of Republicans looking to repeal Obamacare.
Before Mr. Trump stepped into the debate with his call for “insurance for everybody,” Republicans were choosing their words with utmost caution: Their goal in replacing the health law was to guarantee “universal access,” they said, not necessarily universal coverage.
“We will give everyone access to affordable health care coverage,” Mr. Ryan said in early December when asked if Republicans had a plan to cover everyone.
… “No one who has coverage because of Obamacare today will lose that coverage,” Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, said on Jan. 10. … The congresswoman “didn’t deliver her remarks exactly as prepared,” the spokeswoman said. In the prepared remarks, Ms. McMorris Rodgers included an important qualification: “No one who has coverage because of Obamacare today will lose that coverage the day it’s repealed” — in the transition to a new market-oriented health care system.
… We’re all concerned, but it ain’t going to happen,” Mr. Cornyn said. He amplified the point, adding: “Nobody’s going to lose coverage. Obviously, people covered today will continue to be covered. And the hope is we’ll expand access. Right now 30 million people are not covered under Obamacare.” A spokesman for Mr. Cornyn said he “meant no one will lose access to coverage.”
It hardly bears mentioning that the Republican party is trying to pull off the reverse triple Anatole:
The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets or steal bread.
Republicans are pushing for a scheme that will provide both the very rich and the extremely poor with perfectly equal “access” to healthcare markets, just as they have equal access to Cartier jewelry, haut couture fashion houses and hopping on a plane for an overnight trip to get measured for bespoke shirts at Charvet’s. The small difference being, of course, that people’s lives and deaths don’t depend on whether they have nicely fitting shirts in their wardrobes. Similarly, those with perfect health and those with serious pre-existing conditions can rejoice in the knowledge that they will enjoy exactly the same principled equal right to purchase healthcare, even if the outcomes might differ very slightly, depending on the specifics of the cases.
The reason that some of the Republican rank-and-file are getting nervous is that their leadership is trying to sell a con, and a pretty obvious one. Still, some of them aren’t nearly nervous enough – the stakes are very high for very large numbers of people who would lose coverage, and can be expected to mobilize. It will be particularly interesting to see what happens in red states like Kentucky which have opted for some version of Obamacare. I started blogging in the run up to the Iraq war, when it sometimes seemed as if only a small minority of Americans had any understanding of the craziness that was being unleashed, and where critics and demonstrators had great difficulty tapping into large scale media. The political situation is in many ways far worse now, but the potential for large scale mobilization – and sustained media attention to it – is similarly far greater.