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Monday, June 19, 2017

Stop the secrecy! Block the GOP secret healthcare conspiracy

Although it's impossible to understand how a group of 13 male Senators, who took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, continue to negotiate about 1/6 of US economy related to healthcare in secret, the results will be devastating to the GOP- and they've been duly warned about the political consequences.

WASHINGTON — The Senate is closing in on a health care bill that could affect coverage for tens of millions of Americans and overhaul an industry that makes up one-sixth of the economy.

Only one problem: Almost no one knows what’s in it. (Is this the newest GOP conspiracy against the American people?)

Attention:  Senator Mitch McConnell

"I think it's being written, uh, by someone somewhere but I'm not aware of who or where," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, deadpanned to NBC News. "If you get a copy of it, will you send me a copy?"

In a striking break from how Congress normally crafts legislation, including Obamacare, the Senate is conducting its negotiations behind closed doors. The process began five weeks ago, after the House passed its version of health care reform, with a small working group of 13 senators rather than the broader committees who usually handle the issue.

The opaque process makes it impossible to evaluate whether there are any significant changes coming to health care. There are no hearings with health experts, industry leaders, and patient advocacy groups to weigh in where the public can watch their testimony or where Democrats can offer amendments.

“We'll let you see the bill when we finally release it,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters on Tuesday. He added that “nobody is hiding the ball here” and that people were “free to ask anybody anything.”

Free to ask, but answers are another matter. Republican senators are still negotiating over specific pieces of a bill, but they say they’re close enough to producing legislation that they could hold a vote within weeks. They have been tight-lipped on the details, leaving Americans with only a trickle of leaked ideas that are often vague or speculative.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said in a hearing on Thursday that his staff had provided "technical assistance" to senators working on the bill, but that he had not seen any "legislative language" himself.

Democrats are justifiably complaining about being shut out, but even some Republican senators have said they’ve had difficulty getting information about the legislation and wished there were more public opportunities to register concerns.

Americans must block this horrible health care initiative and prevent the secret process used to create a regressive public policy.

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