BEST MEETING EVER

1. It’s Friday, July 7, 2017.

2. It’s only the 89th anniversary of sliced bread. You would have thought it’s been around since before 1928. But no. 

It’s also the 36th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to the U.S. Supreme Court, the first woman to serve as an associate justice. I’m not a Reagan fan by any means, but this is a laudable accomplishment.

3. By the time I finish writing this, the meeting between Trump and Putin will have taken place. I’m sure it will be pitched as a triumph for both of these pillbugs.

Does it matter? Hardly. Putin won this meeting last Nov. 8. The disarray the Russian interference has sown into American democracy and the disheartening of those who believe in American ideals are triumph enough.

4. I’m not falling for the idea that the Republican health care proposal – or, rather, the Republican anti-Obamacare proposal – can’t pass because it’s so unpopular that they’ll face voters’ wrath in next year’s congressional elections.

Yes, the polling numbers are fairly dismal. And when people hear what the Republicans want to do, they cringe.

But this is a Republican dream – the idea of stripping the nation of this plan. Republicans, again, are not into governing – they’re into ruling.

Obamacare requires governing – the government has to help this program succeed in order to help people get health care coverage. Ruling means you end that – everybody’s on their own, and no one – especially no one in a high income bracket – has to help pay for someone else’s care..

5. And don’t underestimate the ability of the money behind the Republicans to sell this garbage.

I can almost see it. Flags waving in the breeze, children playing, a veteran saluting, an obligatory person of color. And then a baritone announcer saying:

“It’s happened. After four years of anguish. You are now free. Free to choose how to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Free from penalties. Free to pick your doctor. Free to pay for what you need – and not pay for what you don’t.”

“The Obamacare nightmare is over. Americans have stood up. They’ve chosen how they get their health care.”

“America is free again.”

And there will be sunny skies and patriotic-sounding music and a farmer on his tractor plowing a field and so on.

They won’t need to go into detail. How for millions of people, the only choice will be no health care coverage at all. How for millions more, the fact that they still have a plan – albeit reduced in scope – will keep them tethered to jobs from which they’re ready to move on.

Don’t think that the Republicans are worried about how they’re going to sell this bill once they pass it. They know how to do that.

6. The only course of action is to stop it. To keep fighting it. To not rest until it is a burden to Republicans every time they even mention the idea. Realizing that this is something that needs to be done to individual members – one by one.

Because each circumstance is different.

In Kansas, rock-ribbed conservative Jerry Moran is making noises that he’s opposed to his party’s proposal. At the very least, unlike many of his colleagues, he had the guts to hold a town meeting to hear opposition to the bill.

That opposition worries about how many people will lose coverage and will health care become more expensive.

There are those who are skeptical that Moran’s objections are serious – that, in the end, he’ll cave to the national party and vote for the measure.

But very public displays like the one in Palco can only help the cause of preserving a health care system that, with some small problems, works. Obamacare is a success, and that fact registers with people who benefit.

Keeping up the pressure now is the only hope. Because once a bill passes, the selling of it will take everyone’s breath away – in some cases, literally.

 

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