There is a scene in the movie “Coming to America” where Akeem (played by Eddie Murphy) and Semi (played by Arsenio Hall) are looking for a place to live in New York City. They sought to live in a place that appeared to be poor in order for Akeem, who was Prince of Zamunda, to find a wife who would want him not for his royalty but for the person he was.
When they entered what would become the building that they would end up living in, the landlord (played by Frankie Faison) gave them an initial tour of the residential building. On the tour, a man named Stu came tumbling down the stairs as they were about to head up the stairs. The landlord shouted at Stu saying “Hey Stu, your rent is due, and don’t be pulling that falling down the stairs crap on me...You are conscious.” The implication was that Stu was acting like he was unconscious or like he didn’t know what was going on in an effort not to pay his rent.
Like Stu, Senate Republicans are trying to pull a version of this “falling down the stairs” act. Many of them are trying to act like they are unaware of the fact that there will be millions people who will lose their health care coverage. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 22 million people will lose coverage over the next decade under the draft Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The New York Times reported that the bill would hand “a broad tax cut to the affluent in a measure that would also slice billions of dollars from Medicaid, a program that serves one in five Americans, not only the poor but also almost two-thirds of people in nursing homes”.
Several Republican members of Congress are falling down the stairs and pretending that they don’t know this bill is a massive wealth transfer to the most affluent and that the CBO estimates that 15 million people would lose coverage within a year. According to an article in the New York Times the GOP’s Senate bill’s “largest benefits go to the wealthiest Americans, who have the comfortable health care arrangements, and its biggest losses fall to poorer Americans who rely on government support.”
This is an example of people who have definite intentions, but mask it behind a fake guise of unawareness. They disguise their intentions by acting like they don’t know what’s going on when they actually know exactly what is going on. This is the height of deception. Individuals like many in Congress will act like they have no agency over situations that they actually control and intentionally orchestrated.
Another tactic that GOP Senators seem to be deploying is the withholding of information in order to construct a short time frame to push the legislation through. They will then act like things just like things just happened to happen when it was actually orchestrated to turn out like it did. This is illustrated in the way that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is attempting to rush the process as people scramble to unpack all of the ramifications of the bill. A few of his Republican colleagues expressed serious doubt about the proposed legislation prompting McConnell to push the vote back until after the July 4th recess.
Members of Congress should be questioned extensively about their stance on this proposal and not allowed to change the topic in an effort to redirect the conversation as if often the case. This kind of misdirection is used by GOP officials to block people from gaining access to opportunities that they themselves have. Every member of Congress benefits from government-sponsored health care, but a sizable number of them are trying to use smokescreens to divert attention away from catastrophic health care proposals that will strip people of their health care coverage.
There is too much at stake for people to fall for the “banana in the tailpipe” that includes the Trump twitter circus and other distractions while policies with a real tangible impact on people are pushed to the periphery. This is the time to critically examine and highlight the disastrous consequences that the health care reform proposals in the House and Senate would bring for the most vulnerable Americans.