It’s Not ‘Feasible to Release a Healthcare Bill Written in Secret and Expect to Pass It in 18 Days

From:,  by Pam Key,  on Mar 26, 2017

On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” while discussing the failure of the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said, “To release a bill that was written in secret and then expect to pass it in 18 days, I just don’t think was feasible.”

Partial transcript as follows:

COTTON: I would say the president is right Democrats gave us Obamacare. The failure of the bill this week doesn’t solve the problems of Obamacare, it is continuing to get worse and our healthcare system is groaning under the weight of Obamacare. So we have to revisit it and now have the time to do it in a more deliberate and careful fashion. But ultimately I don’t think you can lay the defeat of this bill last week on any single faction in the House of Representatives. Some conservatives opposed it. Some moderates opposed it, even a chairman men of powerful committees opposed it. The problem is the bill and process. Healthcare is a very complicated issue to release a bill written in secret and expect to pass it in 18 days. I just don’t think was feasible.

DICKERSON: So you said written in secret, so that is on Paul Ryan then, he controls that process. So are you saying basically that the House leaders, the House speaker did it — the process was poorly handled?

COTTON: I think you can’t expect to try to solve a problem that addresses one-sixth of the country’s economy and touches every American in a very personal and intimate way and 18 days, when the Democrats came to power in 2009 for 60 years at least they had been pursuing a national healthcare system, yet they didn’t introduce legislation for eight months and didn’t pass it for over a year of Barack Obama’s first term, so it went through very public hearings and took testimony, developed fact-based foundation of knowledge, President Obama traveled around the country around town hauls and spoke to a joint session of Congress. I am not saying we needed 14 months to do this, but I think a more careful and deliberate approach which we now have time to do because we have to the revisit healthcare anyway would get us further down the path to a solution. I believe both moderates and conservatives made a lot of concessions already. I have friends like Jim Jordan in the freedom caucus and Charle Dent, they are good men and want to work together and find a solution that both they and everyone in between can agree to with time I think we can do that.

DICKERSON: So your judgment, so nobody mistakes your message is the house rushed it?

COTTON: I think the house moved a bit too fast, 18 days is simply not enough time for such major landmark legislation.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


An astute observation by Tom Cotton.

Nevermind the sheer lunacy of the Republicans campaigning for years on repealing Obamacare and then not having a replacement ready to go immediately when the opportunity presents itself, that goes without saying. But if Cotton’s timeframe is accurate, to expect to cobble together a reasonable, workable, economically feasible replacement and pass it in 18 days is a double-down on the lack of a replacement lunacy by the Republican operatives that participated in the fiasco.

I wonder how many of us taxpayers understood what impact this new Ryancare bill would have on healthcare in the country, I know that I didn’t. Finding a before/after comparison of Ryan’s replacement to Obamacare wasn’t easy to find – I looked. You could find bits and pieces of features in various articles, but I never found a clear, concise comparison that would have afforded me a way to judge the efficacy of this “new and improved” Ryan version.

And, if that wasn’t enough, the recurring memory of Nancy Pelosi saying that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it” came flooding back because Ryan used exactly the same tactics this time and kept the contents of the package secret. If that was a bad tactic then, why wouldn’t it be now?

Personally, I’m pissed that after giving our Republican friends the House, the Senate, and now the presidency, this fiasco is the best that they can do? I want to see a repeal of Obamacare, it’s obvious that it was a garbage piece of legislation from the start. It only passed because we, the taxpayers, were lied to by our president and then passed by democrats alone, without any participation by Republicans and over the succeeding years, we’ve seen the havoc that it’s wreaked on those that depend on it. Obamacare is out-of-control and in a downward death spiral and will soon force something to be done. Why weren’t our representatives prepared to act when we had the political power to pass a replacement?

It seems to me that this fool-hearted attempt to pass some apparently not-ready-for-prime-time legislation is on Ryan. How massive must his ego be to think that an acceptable (secret) replacement could be passed in 18 days? President Trump depended on the Ryancare vehicle to make a repeal of Obamacare possible and he was fooled. We were fooled.

Obamacare must be repealed. If it hasn’t been replaced by something better by the 2018 elections, I wouldn’t be counting on adding more Republicans to Congress, in fact, we could lose some.



Categories: Political


8 replies

  1. I agree with you and Garnet, but think there’s a compounding issue to consider.

    Every year since Obozocare was enacted (2010) the House GOP has bleated about their plan to “repeal and replace” it with their own version, essentially a mess cobbled together by Ryan. It pretty much never went anywhere, but they claimed it met their “promise” to offer an alternative. The whole time, it was mocked by conservatives as being a lousy bill. But it was what the GOP (more properly, the PSP) used as the symbol of their “give us the reins of power and we’ll get rid of Obozocare” campaign slogan.

    So, what happens? The peeps DID give them the reins of power, and instead of taking the time to actually come up with something that DOES fulfill their promise to “repeal and replace”, they simply dusted off that same old tired POS that Ryan’s had in his briefcase for the last 6 years, made a few very minor changes, and threw it on the table with a “There! Done deal!” attitude.

    The problem is, it was STILL a piece of crap, and didn’t “repeal” anything other than the purchase mandate and pre-existing conditions aspects of the existing law. It certainly didn’t “replace” Obozocare with anything that was free-market based; that promoted competitive free-market solutions to cost issues; or addressed the other actual issues that lead to spiraling costs in healthcare and insurance.

    Ryan’s a freakin’ idiot who’s gotta go. He’s just Boehner without the tears, tan or bourbon. And Trump goofed by not holding his feet to the fire to come up with an actual “something”, rather than just this old crappy plan, and I place the blame for that on his lack of political experience, ego, and believing his own press releases.


    • I meant to write this as a “reply” to CW’s comment, so that’s who I meant by “you and Garnet”.



      • Yes, Republicans look like a bunch of clowns in their attempt to be too clever by half. I blame Paul Ryan for that because he’s hell bent on impressing us with how he can meet 20 different objectives and not step outside the rules all at the same time. Problem is he focused on the wrong objectives. Mission not accomplished.

        With respect to Trump, though, In order to hold someone’s feet to the fire, you have to have a clear vision of your own. In an interview on 60 Minutes in September, 2015, Trump said [on the question of universal healthcare]:

        “I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now. The government’s going to pay for it. But we’re going to save so much money on the other side,” he said. “But for the most it’s going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.”

        “I am going to take care of everybody….The government’s going to pay for it…. it’s going to be a private plan…. lots of different competition …… and they can have everything.”

        Nothing unclear or contradictory in that message, eh? If Paul Ryan was trying to craft a bill that Donald Trump would sign, he sure had some mixed messages to work with.

        Both Trump and Ryan are confused as to where they stand on the role and limits of the federal government. No doubt they would disagree with me saying so, but their actions are the definitive proof of this. And the only thing standing between us and them are a small band of beleaguered patriots called the Freedom Caucus.


      • Brian, I agree that Ryan tried to pull a fast one by assuming that anything would pass, but proudly, the real conservatives didn’t falter and it went down in flames. If anything is to replace Obamacare, it must offer national (across state lines) and tort reform along with the removal of “essential benefits” and the mandate. Trump’s problem was that he trusted Ryan ’cause he didn’t know anything about the issue and apparently wasn’t interested enough to learn what was wrong with Obamacare.

        Now, Mo Brooks is going to offer a one-sentence repeal of Obamacare – it’ll be interesting to see how the PSP guys vote on that one.


  2. One of the main things I learned in Girl Scouts that still sticks with me today is to be prepared. Anticipate what you’ll need in a given situation and be ready for that, as well as other possibilities – that’s why I have a lot of useless junk stashed in drawers and closets – “just in case.”

    With that being one of my priorities, it irks me to hear Tom Cotton and the others complain that they didn’t have enough time. Like the rest of us, they’ve known since November the 8th that Trump was coming to the White House and that getting rid of O’care was one of his main objectives. Yet they didn’t even begin to prepare for the changes they and Trump all campaigned on.

    They had months to work on this and hash out their differences to create a bill that everyone could approve. I think Tom Cotton is one of the good guys, but blaming the bill’s failure on a shortage of time just doesn’t fly.


    • I think that the small timeframe was troublesome because most of the members didn’t have any idea what was in the bill. They weren’t part of crafting it and didn’t feel any responsibility for any part of it. For the disorganized Repubs to get behind a healthcare bill, it needs to be constructed by the body that is going to vote on it and at least have input on what goes in it. I think that they could construct a new replacement (by committee) and satisfy enough members so that they could take “ownership” of it.


  3. I think you’re spot on with your predictions about the 2018 elections, Garnet.

    You asked: “Why weren’t our representatives prepared to act when we had the political power to pass a replacement?”

    It’s because they aren’t unified in their mission. They’re like multiple teams of astronauts aboard the same ship, but some are trying to get to Mars while others think they’re going to the Moon or Jupiter. What is the likelihood that they are going to agree on a flight plan?

    So how do we get everyone on the same page with Obamacare? If only the Founders had anticipated this problem. Oh wait – they did. The Constitution makes the job of congress very simple by defining the mission for them, and this is the mission: “Defend and uphold the Constitution.” If Congress would refocus on that mission, there might be different options for carrying out that mission just as there are different options for getting to the moon, but knowing where you want to end up significantly limits both the options and the possibility of serious mistakes.

    What is the chance that the New Socialists, Paul Ryan & Co., will re-focus on the mission of defending and upholding the Constitution? Zero. If we had a president who understood the mission and could offer some much needed leadership that might give us hope, but alas the Constitution is the last thing Donald Trump is thinking about when it comes to undoing Obamacare. His solution is to try to force conservatives to abandon the mission that the Founders set out for us and steer the ship that was designed for a moon mission onward to Jupiter. So I hold Trump as responsible as I do Paul Ryan, but more importantly the American people, when looking to affix blame, might want to look in the mirror. You can’t elect socialists and liberals to restore a true free market, even if they have “R’s” after their names.


    • Good comment, CW. I’m continuing to read articles about the Republicare bill and am revising my opinions somewhat. One, is that trying to create an entirely new healthcare landscape all at once, it probably doomed to failure since so many will perceive that the changes will hurt them – whether or not that’s true. Better to implement the most troublesome aspects over time as people get used to it. That doesn’t mean that I’m proposing a Ryancare clone – we still need selling across state lines and tort reform to go along with the scrapping of essential benefits and the mandate. You’ll note that even though most people hate Obamacare and it IS in a death spiral, they got all upset when something new is proposed.

      And secondly, as you noted, the Republicans are about as organized as a herd of alley cats whereas the democrats are structured as an army and will do as ordered without question. We need a real leader to “whip” the Repubs into a coordinated mass to pass legislation. That may be hard, but it will be necessary to pass any kind of significant legislation.


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