While you watched Comey, Senate GOP moved to cripple healthcare (and California moved to expand it) – Los Angeles Times

Having learned from their colleagues in the House that the best way — possibly the only way — to pass a grossly unpopular healthcare repeal bill is to hide the details, the Senate GOP used the cover of the Comey hearing Thursday to move the repeal along.

While the eyes of political wonks across Washington, D.C., and the nation were glued to telecasts of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony about his closed-door encounters with President Trump, Senate Republicans worked to fast-track their version of the American Health Care Act, the measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act that was passed by the House GOP on May 4.

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., invoked Senate Rule 14, which allows a bill to bypass committee consideration and be brought to the floor for a vote. That means no hearings and no debate, and improves the prospect of a vote before the Senate leaves Washington for its August recess.

As it happens, the Senate’s work on a measure to cut back the health coverage gains secured by the ACA took place as California budget negotiators reached agreement on restoring dental and optical coverage cut from the state’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, in 2009. The plan is to restore dental coverage for Medicaid patients in 2018 and eyeglasses in 2020. Some details are still being negotiated, but this is what political leaders do when they’re serious about improving the health of their constituents.

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