One of the most conservative men in Congress, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, threw Mitch McConnell under the bus over the weekend. On Friday, in an under-reported event with the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, Johnson signaled he’s now undecided on the Senate’s Obamacare replacement bill. The reason? Because Johnson is adamant that any bill he votes for includes across-the-board “entitlement reform,” AKA dismantling Medicaid.
Johnson wants to see the federal government relinquish all control of Medicaid and return the responsibility of covering low-income patients to the states. The states, of course, cannot afford to handle Medicaid on their own. The net result would be the destruction of a vital program that saves thousands of lives every day.
It would be an unusual stance for Johnson to take, since that provision is actually included in the current incarnation of the Senate bill. But his second-guessing comes from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s positioning among moderates he’s trying to convince to vote for the bill. Some Republican Senators have apparently been moved by the outcry from literally everyone about how many lives this bill would destroy, and have indicated they wouldn’t support the bill with Medicaid cuts as deep as are planned.
It’s hard to imagine what would make me call Rob Portman of Ohio or Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia “moderates” of any sort, but that’s apparently how McConnell sees them — as though anyone who jumps out of the bus before it goes off a cliff isn’t committed. And to secure those “moderate” votes, McConnell told them, according to the Washington Post,
The bill’s deepest Medicaid cuts are far into the future, and they’ll never go into effect anyway.”
That’s right: Mitch McConnell is selling a bill to his extremist Senators as a complete overhaul of Medicaid, so that not one “unworthy” poor person has access to health care, and at the same time telling his Senators who only want to destroy Obama’s legacy without necessarily killing anyone that the bill’s most terrible provisions will never be implemented.
Johnson, of the former group of extremists, was livid:
One of the main reasons we are willing to support a bill that doesn’t even come close to repealing Obamacare … was because at least we were devolving the management back to the states, and putting some level of sustainability into an unsustainable entitlement program. If our leader is basically saying don’t worry about it, we’ve designed it so that those reforms will never take effect … that’s a pretty significant breach of trust.”
Honestly, I can’t decide who to be more disgusted with. Is it Johnson, for being a Tea Party douchebag who wants to kill Americans so he can give rich people a tax cut? Is it McConnell, for being a lying prick who will say or do anything to get people to do what he wants?
I think it might be Mitch. At least Ron Johnson is honest about being horrible.
Featured image via Win McNamee/Getty Images