Republicans Are Opening Themselves Up To Payback

And if the Democratic Party leadership, such as it is, weren’t so inept, this might actually come to pass (boldface mine):

But one thing is certain. Someday soon Democrats will get another bite at the health-care apple. Pressure to pass Medicare for all, or something approximating it, will be intense. When that debate happens, Republicans will have forfeited the right to any input, attention, or political respect of any kind.

…Democrats have no reason to fear passing a [Medicare-for-all] bill through regular order, with the usual hearings, markups, and CBO scores. And they should restore traditional constitutional democracy, where both experts and the citizenry get a chance to weigh in — most importantly, allowing time for CBO analysis so people can know what is being voted on. By definition, of course, the opposition party would then get time to participate in floor debate.

But Republicans have completely obliterated any reason for Democrats — or anyone else — to take seriously any words that come out of their lying mouths. ObamaCare was passed after over a year of debate, with a slew of committee hearings, markups, and careful — indeed, rather neurotic — attention to CBO scores. Centrist Democrats, partly fueled by President Obama’s desperate desire for bipartisanship, courted Republican senators with a fervent intensity. (For their trouble they were strung out for months and got nothing.)

…The upshot is that the Republican Party is absolutely, fundamentally untrustworthy. They deserve nothing but contempt in any future policy debate of any kind.

It would be only right and proper for the Medicare for All Act of 2021 to be queued up prior to the new Congress taking power, fully costed out and ready for scoring. It would be given about two months for full congressional procedure, with the entire Democratic caucus attending every Republican speech with their backs turned from start to finish. After every scruple was attended to (though Senate Democrats would probably have to vote to abolish the filibuster), it would be passed on a party-line vote. Perhaps they could celebrate by obsequiously hand-delivering the new Medicare enrollment cards to every Republican member of Congress.

That’s probably wishful thinking, given today’s Democratic Party. But if they had an ounce of self-respect, that’s what they would do.

I’ll leave the lionization of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) by progressives for another day. But overall, this is right: if Democrats weren’t so good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, this would be–and should be–the right thing to do.

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