GOP attacked "secret" 2010 passage of ACA. They're now doing the same with the AHCA.


Republicans are planning to vote Thursday evening on an amended version of the American Health Care Act — the House Republicans' health care bill that President Donald Trump has thrown his full-throated support behind.

But with conservatives and the Tea Party's Freedom Caucus in revolt, the GOP didn't have the votes to get the House Republican bill through. So they started changing it. 

Now, mere hours before the vote, it's unclear what changes Republicans are actually making to the bill, giving Americans almost no time to understand what it is the House is actually going to vote on, and how those changes would impact Americans.

In 2009, however, the same Republican Party bashed the way the Affordable Care Act was passed because — you guessed it — the American people supposedly couldn't get all the necessary information about the the Affordable Care Act before Congress voted.

"When this started a year ago, few would have thought it would end this way," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who at the time led a minority, said of the ACA. "With a couple of cheap deals and a rushed vote at one o'clock in the morning."

While the AHCA vote isn't expected at 1 a.m., Republicans worked closely with the White House on Wednesday night behind closed doors to amend the GOP healthcare bill in an attempt to placate the party's ultra-conservative wing. After years of promising to repeal and replace the ACA, then, the details of the Republican bill came down to one late night and a bunch of deals — that Americans will have little to no time to evaluate before a vote is taken.

Before the bill was ultimately passed in March 2010, Republicans seized on an out-of-context quote from then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the ACA debate. "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy," Pelosi said.

Pelosi's full quote shows she meant to say that Americans would never appreciate the ACA until its effects came to pass. But Republicans removed that context to use it as an attack to say Democrats rammed a bill through Congress without knowing its impacts.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer reminded the country of Pelosi's words in a March news conference, saying the Republican Party's health care bill this time around was transparent and out there for all to see.

"Anyone in the country and anyone in the world, could read it," he said of the AHCA. "That's a vastly different approach than after it's being done, told, after we pass it you can read it, which is what Speaker Pelosi said."

Given the events of the past 24 hours, Spicer's statements no longer ring true — and his attacks on Pelosi smack of hypocrisy. 

The changes being discussed by Republicans are likely to be not only unpopular, but politically perilous for Republicans. 

In order to appease House conservatives, the Trump administration is considering removing the "Essential Health Benefits" guaranteed by the ACA. That means plans would not have to cover things like preventative care, hospitalization, prescription drugs, substance abuse treatment and pregnancy and newborn care. 

Health care companies then could charge premiums for plans that cover almost no actual health services.

For now, it's unclear whether those benefits will be removed — or what House Republicans will even vote on Thursday. And that fact alone could have political consequences for a party that's promised the world on fixing health care and so far delivered so little.