Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is denied entry to a room where the draft Affordable Care Act repeal and replace bill was rumored to be hidden. (Photo: Sarah Kliff/Vox)

GOP So Worried Public Will See Healthcare Bill They Hid From Lawmakers, Too

A 'bipartisan wild goose chase' on Capitol Hill made for great comedy on Thursday, except that it seems to be part of a House leadership plan to keep their Obamacare repeal in the shadows

Lauren McCauley

Amid reports that House Republicans are keeping their draft healthcare legislation in a secret location, Congressional lawmakers on Thursday convened an actual search party to find the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replacement bill.

Republican Sen. Paul Rand (Ky.) was the first to raise alarm when he tweeted:

He added that he was "heading to the secure location where they are keeping the House Obamacare bill," where he would "demand a copy for the American people."

That set off a "bipartisan wild goose chase," as Vox reporter Sarah Kliff, who was along on the journey, phrased it.

The draft is reportedly being made available in a private location for members of the House Energy and Commerce panel to read, allegedly so copies of it will not be leaked (as was the case with the previous iteration).

"The draft legislation was rumored to be in H-157, a nondescript meeting room in the House of Representatives," Kliff reported. "When legislators arrived, Capitol Police were guarding the entrance, and dozens of reporters were waiting outside for the much-anticipated legislation."

Rand, who arrived with a printer in tow (presumably to make copies), was denied entry as were Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.).

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) was inexplicably allowed inside where he searched around before concluding it was not there. "I've looked in the Ways and Means Committee Room, I've looked in the Ways and Means conference room, I've looked here," he said. "We cannot find the bill."

Hoyer then reportedly began speaking to a large bust of Abraham Lincoln, telling the former president, "Mr. Lincoln, you said public sentiment is everything. But if the public can't see the bill, they can't give us their sentiment. That's not regular order. That's not democracy."

The whole episode made for great comedy, except that it seems to be part of a House leadership plan to get the ACA, or Obamacare, repeal underway without transparent accounting for how many people it will impact or how much it will cost.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the health panel "may try to mark up the bill next week, but it hasn't been processed yet by the Congressional Budget Office, which will provide a 'score' on its cost, as well as an estimate of how many people the plan will insure. That score is critical to the debate, because the GOP plan is expected to provide coverage for significantly fewer people than Obamacare."

Trump ally and health panel member Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) told Bloomberg, "It looks like, unfortunately, based on the delays, we may be marking it up and voting on it before we have a score."

"We can't sit back and wait for these scores to come out for three more weeks before we start what's a three-week process," he added.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Federal Judge Allows 'Untenable' Plan to Send Juvenile Inmates to Angola Prison

"The move defies all common sense and best practices, and it will cause irrevocable damage to our youth and families," said one children's advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'Catastrophic': Arizona Judge Allows 1864 Abortion Ban to Go Into Effect

"No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom," said one rights advocate.

Julia Conley ·


US Progressives Express Solidarity With Iranian Protesters After Death of Mahsa Amini

"The right to choose belongs to us all, from hijabs to reproductive care," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Julia Conley ·


Critics of Louisiana LNG Project 'Hopeful' as Huge Sales Contracts Canceled

"The fight is not over," says one activist, but "from tax breaks to pollution and now to these recent financial downswings, we have all the evidence we need to understand that Driftwood will be a parasite."

Jessica Corbett ·


DHS Officials Urge Biden to End 'Disastrous Leadership' of Embattled IG

In an anonymous letter, the Homeland Security staffers say Inspector General Joseph Cuffari's actions "embarrass the entire agency."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo