The search for meaning

The other day Fresh Air did a conversation with a reporter about the health insurance battle; one item jumped out at me:

DAVIES: This is FRESH AIR. I’m Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who’s off this week. We’re talking with Sarah Kliff about the Senate health care bill. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had hoped to get it to a vote before the July 4 recess but has postponed action because he can’t get enough support for it to pass. Sarah Kliff is senior policy correspondent for Vox and co-host of its podcast “The Weeds.”

When we left off, Kliff had explained that the Congressional Budget Office found the bill would leave millions more uninsured and would increase health care costs for many Americans, especially older people. You’ve been covering this issue in Washington for a long time. You must talk to Republican staff and senators. What do they say when these questions are raised about whether people are going to end up paying a lot more and getting poorer coverage?

KLIFF: Yeah, that’s been one of the, you know, interesting and different things from covering the last health care debate, which I did. You know, back then in 2009 and 2010 when I talked to Democrats about their health care bill and asked them, you know, what’s the point of all of this, they would say, we want to increase coverage and reduce costs. It would be some variation on that line. You know, when I and my colleagues at Vox talked to Republican senators over the past few weeks and ask, you know, what’s the goal of this whole thing? We’ve heard back from multiple Republican senators. The goal is to get 51 votes. The goal is really less about policy and more about passing something.

Fucking hell.

That’s not surprising, I suppose, but it’s profoundly depressing, and horrifying. Democrats want to expand coverage; Republicans want to win. The issue is life and death, and Republicans’ goal is to win.

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