Andy Slavitt, acting administrator for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under President Obama, penned an op-ed in The Washington Post Saturday that slams Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for using “sabotage, speed and secrecy” to work on passing the GOP healthcare bill in the upper chamber.
Slavitt said McConnell should rewrite the House-passed healthcare bill that repeals and replaces key ObamaCare provisions, given the Congressional Budget Office analysis that showed 23 million people would lose healthcare under that plan.
“Faced with that reality, McConnell could have started over and had the Senate develop its own legislation, perhaps even working with Democrats on a bipartisan alternative that could withstand the test of time,” Slavitt wrote. “Instead, McConnell put a plan in place to pass something close to the House bill using three simple tools: sabotage, speed and secrecy.”
Slavitt said facts discount the GOP’s argument that “ObamaCare has failed,” which they are using to “sabotage” the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“Taking advantage of those now well-documented efforts to sabotage the ACA, McConnell is reportedly telling his members they have no choice but to pass a replacement,” the former acting administrator said.
He cited the efforts of McConnell to push for a “fast-track procedure” to get the bill passed before the July Fourth recess, before hearings could show the consequences.
“So last week McConnell deployed Rule XIV, a fast-track procedure that bypasses the committee process and moves the bill directly to the floor. Just as in the House, we’re on track to have a vote with no hearings (there were more than 100 for the ACA). Knowing the coverage loss will be significant, McConnell plans to vote within only days, or possibly even hours, of the release of the CBO score,” Slavitt writes.
He said “secrecy” is a tool McConnell is using because the bill won’t pass unless it is “kept secret for as long as possible.”
He cited instances where Republican senators will break from the party vote if the bill proves to negatively impact a lawmaker’s state, pointing states dealing with the opioid crisis that may be hurt if Medicaid gets drastically cut. He acknowledged that McConnell may try to appease these senators by including “a small ‘opioid fund'” in the bill.
Slavitt said McConnell “might not even mind” if the bill doesn’t pass because it will “preserve the Senate’s role as our deliberative body with the good judgment not to bow to political winds.”