The informal July 4 deadline Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has set for Senate Republicans to pass a health care bill that could strip coverage from 23 million Americans is rapidly approaching — but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the front page of major newspapers across the country on Monday.
National outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post featured no front-page coverage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), also known as Trumpcare, which is being secretly written by an all-male group of senators. The lack of attention being paid to the bill indicates McConnell’s strategy of avoiding publicity by drafting the bill behind closed doors, holding no hearings, and unveiling the bill’s text at the last possible minute is paying dividends.
Newspapers in red areas of the country that largely supported Trump last November and stand to be hit hardest by Trumpcare also didn’t cover health care reform on their front pages on Monday.
Consider the respective front pages of Monday’s Louisville’s Courier-Journal; the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Huntington, West Virginia’s Herald-Dispatch; and the Cincinnati Enquirer.
People who consume their news online also didn’t see any coverage on major outlets’ homepages Monday morning.
Another day without a SINGLE frontpage story on the Senate's bill to take health care from millions. Like living in an alternate universe. pic.twitter.com/bQeYQoTv54
— Jeremy Slevin (@jeremyslevin) June 19, 2017
Trumpcare has also been a blip on the TV news radar. According to an analysis by Media Matters looking at coverage from June 1 through June 14, the bill has received scant mention on broadcast and cable news, with Republican secrecy surrounding the bill barely even being mentioned.
There’s a reason Republicans want to Trumpcare on the down low — even Fox News is unable to spin the unpopularity of the bill, which is essentially a tax cut for the rich masquerading as health care reform.
Poll: View of the American Health Care Act. pic.twitter.com/CZqCGrJfsE
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 9, 2017
Progressive senators are trying to make the media take notice. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Republican committee chairs with jurisdiction over Trumpcare requesting that they “schedule hearings to discuss, debate and hear testimony about the health care bill you are currently drafting in secret.”
The letter, which goes on to list each of the 31 rooms where a hearing could be held, says the millions of American who would be negatively impacted by Trumpcare “deserve an open and public debate over the bill.”
“The American Health Care Act would fundamentally redefine health care in our country,” it concludes. “To draft it behind closed doors and pass it without even one hearing is nothing short of legislative malpractice and a repudiation of all the Senate stands for.”
Meanwhile, The Hill reported that Senate Democrats are planning to bring the bring the work of the Senate to a halt by holding “a late-night talkathon Monday to protest the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.”
“Democrats are expected to speak from the Senate floor until at least midnight protesting the GOP plan — which is still being hashed out — amid Senate Republicans’ refusal to hold a public hearing, according to a Senate aide,” according to the report.