The Republicans have not been having a good one on healthcare since they tried and failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
That’s not to say they haven’t successfully made healthcare worse for millions—the number of uninsured people has gone up by nine million since Trump took office, Medicaid work requirements have thrust untold misery upon millions more, and the Trump administration’s rules on short-term health insurance have allowed insurers to sell junk plans that cover almost nothing. But politically, Republicans have been on defense, trying to convince Americans that they don’t really want to end coverage for preexisting conditions. (They do.)
That’s why two House Republicans are using the greatest tool in the rhetorician’s arsenal: Humor. Jokes. Havin’ a laff.
According to the Hill, Rep. Greg Walden submitted an amendment to the Rules Committee to rename a Democratic bill intended to block the Trump administration from allowing states to fuck up health insurance:
Walden’s options to rename the bill include: “This Bill Actually Has Nothing to do with Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act,” “This Bill Limits Health Care Choices Act” and “Nothing in This Bill Would Eliminate Pre-Existing Conditions Protections Act.”
Walden also suggested the sidesplitting title “Don’t Let States Innovate Act.”
I know readers of this blog will likely share my leftist politics, and thus be presented with the same problem I have: How could I not admit that this shit owns? That Walden absolutely fucking roasted those Democrats what is essentially the congressional equivalent of saying “NOT!” at the end of a sentence? I have simply no other option. Prison Planet Paul was right.
To deal with the substance for a second, the “innovation” Walden is describing is in fact allowing tax credits to cover plans that “exclude key benefits, like full prescription coverage or inpatient psychiatric care, and aren’t generally available to people with pre-existing conditions.” Republicans describe this as innovation because they have no interest in using words accurately; it is not, in fact, innovative to allow health plans not to cover key health benefits.
Meanwhile, the Republican counter-bill that’s supposed to ensure pre-existing conditions are protected “do not specify what benefits must be provided,” “prohibit insurers from charging women more than men, as insurers often did before the Affordable Care Act,” or “ban annual or lifetime limits on benefits,” according to the New York Times.
When we asked two comedians to rule on the joke bill titles, reviews were mixed. Nick Wiger, a comedy writer and host of the podcast Doughboys, told Splinter: “I’d say the first and third is are Huckabee jokes. Too wordy. Not sure if he’s the symptom or the cause of this in conservative comedy.” He added: “Third is definitely worse, you have to re read it to even parse it. Second one doesn’t even seem like an attempt at a joke. So it’s the funniest to me.”
But Rob Delaney, a socialist comedian and co-creator and star of Catastrophe, said: “Those are indeed funny! Hope I saw this in time.” I am not an expert on comedy or on situations in which I am being owned, but I’m pretty sure I was not at all being owned by Rob.
Rep. George Holding, meanwhile, offered “Nothing in This Bill Would Protect Individuals With Pre-Existing Conditions Act” or “Insert Politically Punchy Title That Doesn’t Reflect the Bill Substance Act.”
Look, I can do it too: Insert Political Party That Cares About Whether People Die of Treatable Illnesses! Please!!!