I suspect the main reason that GOP leaders prolonged their charade for one more theatrical day was not to glean more votes, but to buy time to plot their next billionaire-saving move. Anything to avoid the public spectacle of a market dive, anything keep investors and health insurance predators from thrashing around in a greedy panic before the platoons of political lifeguards went on TV to reinflate the swim bladders of freedom.
Paul Ryan, who in a sane and just world would have resigned both his seat and his speakership by now, instead used his big moment of defeat to dog-whine to his overlords. Despite their failure to repeal Obamacare and rip millions of people away from life-saving Medicaid benefits, they have concocted plenty of toxic back-up snacks, designed to cull the population in a more stealthy and piecemeal fashion. If anybody can make the vulnerable population sink like lead, these miscreants can. They just got a bit ahead of their sadistic selves, is all.
Barry Grey of World Socialist Website has them absolutely pegged:
Both Ryan and Trump hinted that the administration would use its executive powers to slash away at Obamacare restraints on the health care industry and restrict eligibility and benefits for recipients, particularly those who depend on Medicaid.So notwithstanding the victory dance creakily performed on Friday by senescent Democratic Party leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, this is no time for hoi polloi rejoicing. The GOP legislation failed, and yet at least 20 million Americans remain as uninsured as ever, with tens of millions more finding their premiums, co-pays and deductibles to be increasingly onerous. It's actual people continuing to drown. Not that the tide of the global plutonomy ever raised any rickety lifeboats, of course, It just that, lately, it's loading them down with enough ballast to sink them as quickly as possible.
Ryan said ominously, “There are things the secretary of health and human services can do.” He was referring to Tom Price, a rabid opponent of both Medicaid and Medicare, the government health program for the elderly.
Trump repeatedly predicted with relish that Obamacare would implode. “It will have a very bad year,” he said, suggesting that he and Price would do their best to undermine the program.
Donald Trump certainly had a point when he cynically observed on Friday that Obamacare is not sustainable. He acted almost relieved in the aftermath of the AHCA debacle.
So what better time for Bernie Sanders, whose political capital and national popularity have only soared with every passing day of the chaotic Trump administration, to formally introduce another Senate version of Medicare for All?
If Donald Trump had any political smarts, he would rush to triangulate with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party against both the corporate Ryan and the fanatical Freedom Caucus wings of the GOP, and espouse true single payer health care. He'd help punch some big old holes in each bloated swim-bladder. And who knows - there may even be a handful of "moderate" Republicans willing to join the cause in the interest of saving their own political lives.
As Brent Budowsky writes in The Hill,
The consistently high ratings for Sanders, and the consistently low ratings for Trump, show that the real majority in America is the genuinely progressive and genuinely populist view of Sanders, not the phony populism or warped conservatism represented by Trump.
Based on the historical pattern of midterm election voting, if the midterm election were held today with the president's unpopularity so high, the result would be a landslide victory for Democrats.
Let Hillary Clinton, who recently announced that she's "ready to come out the woods" just try to denounce cost-effective and humane and egalitarian health care coverage, and pissily admonish single payer advocates to "get real" as she echoes her campaign's specious talking points against universal guaranteed care. She'll deservedly sound every inch the demented Grimm Brothers character who lost her way and stumbled out of the woods into the sunlight by pure, moral compass-free, mistake
Since there is no longer even the fuzziest of lines between entertainment and politics, why not treat America to a madcap buddy film instead of the current box office dud called RussiaGate?
There will never be enough lifeboats on the Titanic to allow disasters to end well, so let's forget for a moment all those depressing drowning metaphors - and hop on board the Medicare For All Express!
In an imaginary remake of Silver Streak, for example, a couple of erstwhile antagonists named Donald and Bernie would lead an improbable team of health care reformers who join forces to throw a band of neoliberals off the runaway capitalistic train. They'd manage to decouple the locomotive from the cars right in the nick of time, saving the day for their fellow passengers seated left, right and center. It's a relatively easy script to imitate, given that two of the characters in the original movie were also named Hilly and Whiney.
The suspense will be in guessing who are the villains and who are the heroes. Who finally sees the light, and who still adamantly refuses to seek treatment for chronic tunnel vision and willful myopia?
Therefore, the audience is definitely urged to participate. Keep calling your congress critters. Keep inundating the White House with synopses of Single Payer health care proposals. Don't get derailed by the emerging schlock horror genre called Them Bad Russians.
Poet Allen Ginsberg poignantly sounded the alarm half a century ago. "America: This is serious."