THE BLOG
12/09/2014 09:44 am ET Updated Feb 08, 2015

'VaporCare': Mitch McConnell Plays Chief Justice Roberts for a Fool

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Attempting to play Chief Justice Roberts for a fool, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been suggesting Republicans will craft a health care plan.

In the early days of the software business, the large companies would announce that they were developing a certain software package to dissuade users from purchasing others' already-released products.

These non-existent products became known as "vaporware."

McConnell's health care plan is its kissing cousin: "VaporCare."

McConnell showed he has no problem playing games with other peoples' lives, claiming in his campaign debate that Kentucky's health care exchange would remain intact even if Obamacare were repealed.

Nearly 10 percent of Kentucky citizens have health care now that they did not have before thanks to Obamacare, and McConnell did not want to lose their votes. So, he told them the outrageous lie that they would keep their health care coverage when he repealed Obamacare.

McConnell's duplicity worked. The lie was difficult to refute in the debate setting, and Chuck Todd did not wail that such a lie that profoundly impacts peoples' lives automatically disqualified McConnell from serving in the Senate, unlike his opponent's capital offense of refusing to say whom she voted for in 2012.

Now, McConnell is playing Chief Justice John Roberts for a fool by suggesting aloud that if the Affordable Care Act is rendered impotent by the Court, Republicans will write a new health care law to take care of people who will lose their coverage. And, of course, it will not cost anyone anything... right!

"VaporCare" joins Paul Ryan's (R-WI) "VoucherCare" for senior citizens as the two pillars of Republican approaches to health care: don't provide it all or, if it is already provided, reduce it.

No one really knows why Robert changed his vote in National Federation of Business v. Sebelius to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Some have suggested that Roberts knew that if he scuttled the law, that millions of Americans would have no health care, not just now, but for decades.

Perhaps Roberts did not want to be known in history as the executioner of millions of people.

McConnell's latest ploy is to let Roberts know he need not worry this time. After all, just let Republicans have at it, and they will craft a health care law... honest-to-goodness they will.

Perhaps, the Chief Justice might wonder a bit about McConnell's promises. After 5 years of promising to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, voting more than 50 times to repeal, but, strangely, never bringing a replacement bill out of committee, McConnell's credibility ranks with Dick Cheney's and O.J. Simpson's.

If the Chief Justice did indeed care about millions of peoples' health care coverage before, he might not appreciate McConnell trying to play him for a fool.

Or, the Chief Justice might just call McConnell's bluff. He can vote -- as he and his brethren should vote, based upon mountains of precedent -- to uphold the subsidies under the federal exchanges, remarking in dicta that the Republicans can remedy the entire situation by replacing the law, in whole or in part, as they have indicated they will do.

Since the structure of the Affordable Care Act was, moreover, created originally by the extreme right wing Heritage Foundation, and first enacted by the "severely conservative" Mitt Romney (R-MA), Roberts would be well within his political roots to do so.

The human tragedy is that Republicans have absolutely no policy that can deal with the issue of pre-existing illnesses. Once insurers are legally banned from denying insurance to those with pre-existing conditions, the mandate is required so that people do not free-load off the system, waiting until they become ill to sign up. The premiums from those fortunate enough to remain healthy provide the revenue to pay for treatments for those who become sick.

The "grand bargain" in all insurance is that you pay for others while you are well, and that money is available from others to pay for you when you become ill.

Nothing the Republicans claim they will do will actually happen; or, if it does, it will leave gaping holes in our health care system that the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare filled.

Vaporware was at most a questionable commercial tactic whose worst outcome was fooling people into foregoing certain computer capabilities if they did not purchase competitors' products.

VaporCare is about pain and suffering, life and death, flesh and blood.