Senate health care bill a losing hand

Posted 7/26/17

If you play poker long enough, sooner or later you will have to show your hand.

That’s what I learned recently when I went to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. No, I didn’t play in the WSOP, but my friend John had earned a seat through …

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Senate health care bill a losing hand

Posted

If you play poker long enough, sooner or later you will have to show your hand.

That’s what I learned recently when I went to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. No, I didn’t play in the WSOP, but my friend John had earned a seat through his weekly poker league. I’ve “played” in a couple of charity tournaments, and John and I practiced dozens of hands together before the trip.

On our last night in Vegas, I sat down at a real table in a real casino with real money … and real competitors. I wasn’t the big winner of the evening, but let’s just say that I made my money back three times over.

It’s true I folded about 90 percent of the hands I was dealt, and most of the cards I did play were pretty darn good. It’s also true that I played some questionable hands. But because of the respect I had generated, I won some of these less-than-stellar hands without revealing my cards.

Sometimes, of course, when I was forced show my questionable hands, I lost.

My fervent hope as I write this – having learned that debate on the Senate health care bill will not take place this week – is that Senate Republicans, having shown us their hand, will also carefully consider their bets.

Let me be clear here: I’ve been a registered Republican for the majority of my voting life, and I only recently changed to unaffiliated. I am not a fan of the Affordable Care Act in its current form, especially because of its onerous burdens on small business. I found both major-party candidates to be seriously flawed. However, even in my worst moments, I could not have imagined the hatred and violence, the outright lies, and the contempt for the American people that this administration represents. And, remember, I am not a Democrat.

I keep asking myself, and anyone else who will listen, whether Mitch McConnell and his party-before-people pack really – and I mean really, truly, in the depths of their beings – really believe that their health care bill was a good deal. Fewer than 17 percent of all Americans believe it is, and Trump/Ryan/McConnellcare is among the most – if not most – unpopular legislation ever unveiled.

Millions of people would lose coverage, protections for people with pre-existing conditions have been torpedoed, and maternity care – maternity care! – would no longer have been an essential benefit. (How anyone who has ever had a mother can believe that maternity care is not essential defies description. Plus, of course, this particular deck was dealt in secret without any women, even of their own party, in on the game.)

Oh, and by the way, I willingly pay for roads I don’t drive, parks I don’t visit, services I don’t use, and, because I don’t have any, schools my children did not attend. It’s called being a member of a free society.

So now, after seven years of folding, McConnell and crew have finally shown their hand … and it’s a loser, big league. It’s up to us to stand up for all Americans – especially the elderly, the sick and the most vulnerable among us – who have inexplicably become competitors instead of constituents in this high-stakes gamble.

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