What Comes Next?

Redhead with messy hair covering her face with hands

Redhead with messy hair covering her face with hands

I’m going to go a little wonk-y here. It’s the thing that is keeping me sane this week so I figured I could share a little of that here. Please understand that I could be wrong on all counts. This is my speculation, not anything that I can verify.

We are going to have total GOP control in just a few months. Fiscal and social conservatives have telegraphed their intentions pretty broadly and I have no reason to think they won’t start acting to fulfill their stated priorities.

It’s terrifying how easily many of the protections Obama put in place for federal workers can be undone with the swipe of a pen. Pretty much anything that was an executive action can be dis-enacted. The thought of what that means for LGBTQ workers or what it means for environmental protections, just to cite a couple of examples, makes my head spin in dismay. The only response to those actions will be to lobby at the state and federal level to re-enact them by legislative action. And by lobby, I mean citizen action, not paid lobbyists, though they can be extremely helpful as well. Issue experts are useful people to know.

Some things, like same-sex marriage protections, are in place due to a complex combination of state laws and court rulings that affect state and federal recognition of marriages. Could there be a federal law that repeals existing marriages? Unlikely. Passing a law that would do something that has already been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court would be a heavy lift. Then it would be immediately tied up in court so it wouldn’t even go into effect. If Congress really wanted to undo same sex marriage rights, they’d need a Constitutional Amendment. That would require ratification by 2/3 of the states after it passes Congress. I don’t see it happening. Maybe Mike Pence would like that idea but Senator McConnell, the Senate GOP leader is too smart to waste time, energy, and political capital on something that ultimately has no benefit to his party or the nation.

As for the Obamacare repeal, ugh. Look for something that will be touted as an Obamacare repeal. It’s going to happen and it’s going to pass fast and the new president will sign it. However, I don’t think it will be a full-scale destruction of the law. We’re talking about a multi-faceted piece of legislation that impacts major industries, millions of people, and the economy as a whole. It took four years to even get it up and running fully, It can’t be dismantled overnight. Moreover, there are provisions in the law that even the GOP have to admit are helpful to their constituents. The reforms of insurance industry practices like ensuring people can get coverage despite previous health issues and the bans on annual and lifetime coverage caps are popular. Do you want to be the guy who decided to let insurers cut off coverage for kids with cancer in the middle of treatment? Neither do Ryan and McConnell. They have majorities to protect in 2018 – just as those changes would take effect – and that would be bad for them. I expect we’d end up seeing a partial repeal that will gut the mandates and make some jabs at the things social conservatives want, like undoing the co-pay-free birth control coverage piece. They might dismantle the state exchanges or the federal marketplace in order to make it more difficult for individuals to shop for plans. I also worry that they’ll defund the subsidies and render premiums totally unaffordable for many people. THAT will suck a lot.

Will anyone’s insurance costs go down? Hahahahahahah! No. They were never going to go down. They go up every year. Always have, always will. Sorry. That’s the consequecne to a for-profit health insurance system.

Then there’s the subject that’s haunting my dreams: Roe v. Wade. There’s no way to sugarcoat this. We’re in trouble. There’s a vacancy on the Supreme Court and the new president is going to fill it. Now, he can’t fill it without some Democrats voting to confirm his nominee. He needs 60 votes and the GOP doesn’t hold 60 seats. Democrats have absolutely nothing to lose by voting down a nominee. Their base would actually love to see them make it as hard as possible. After all, the GOP hasn’t even held hearings on Obama’s (highly qualified) nominee and who isn’t a little thirsty for revenge? But eventually, there will be a nominee who passes it and it’s not going to RBG Jr. Best case is it’s going to be someone like John Roberts, worst is another Scalia. Once it happens, look for anti-choice lawsuits to start making their way into the lower courts. Then it’s only a matter of time.

I know. I want to throw up just typing that.

Abortion laws will be tossed to the states and we’ll all have to start donating a LOT of money to funds that help women in need get transportation and lodging in states where abortion in legal.

As for the economy…you know how trickle down economics have never worked? It won’t work this time, either. Bye-bye jobs growth. Bye-bye bridging the income gap. Bye-bye equal pay for women. We’ll see you when Democrats come back.

I haven’t even thought about national security, immigration, or trade laws because I know fuck-all about those issues. Part of me wants to frantically study them so I know what’s coming but I know the smart thing is to stay in my lane. I know health policy, I know women’s issues, I know a bit about protections for minorities. I’ll put my effort into working to hold the line there.

Stick with me, folks, It’s going to get bumpy but we’re stronger together. A real smart lady told us all that and she’s right.


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