Fool’s Errand: Your junior Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul went on a bit of a tear yesterday after learning House Republicans had a draft of repeal/replace Affordable Care Act legislation tucked away, says The Hill.

Bloomberg released a report on Wednesday, saying the bill would be available for the House Energy and Commerce panel on Thursday, but only in a private reading room. No copies allowed.

Frustrated, Sen. Paul took to twitter:

That’s just a few of them. He went on for a while. And I imagined that tweet storm followed by some stewing in his office, working himself up, because just over an hour later, he could simmer no longer:

And so he went to the find the bill, says the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, CNN and The Huffington Post, making the jaunt over armed with only his wits and a copy machine on a dolly.

Even Sen. Nancy Pelosi cheered him on.

Strange bedfellows and all of that.

Soon, others joined in the hunt. Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey and Rep. Jan Schakowski of Illinois searched high and low, to no avail.

But Sen. Paul had a leg up on his Amazing Race competitors — he at least knew the room number where the bill was being held.

He knocked. Asked to see the bill. They said, “no.” And he turned to face the cameras with appropriate outrage.

And that, my friends, is how you perform a media stunt.

I wonder if on his way over with his copy machine, he’s thinking, “You know, if they let me in and all the cameras are there, I’m actually going to have to make copies of this thing …”

Draft of new health care bill

Speaking to reporters in front of “the door,” Sen. Paul said:

“We don’t know if it’s 1,000 pages, 1,500 pages, but we know we’re not given access to read it, and I think that’s a problem.”

“I’m not waiting until after it passes to find out what’s in Obamacare — the new replacement bill.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan says that’s not what’s happening. He told NBC’s “Today” show:

“We’re not hatching some bill in a backroom and plopping it on the American people’s front door.”

Which is one of those denials that sounds a lot like an admission.

“Hey, where have you been? I waited for you.”
“I wasn’t with anyone, if that’s what you think.”
“Well, if I didn’t before…”

What little is known doesn’t go far enough for Sen. Paul and his more conservative allies. They’ll be satisfied with nothing less than full repeal with replacement coming in right behind. They worry too much of the Affordable Care Act remains. Democrats, of course, may want to see a tweak here and there, but would prefer to see the legislation continue. Others still favor a more tempered, methodical approach.

Which means, maybe eight people are going to like this bill. Eight to ten.


Follow Up: President Donald Trump gave an address to Congress on Tuesday and giving the response for the Democrats: none other than former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, says CBS News, CNN and ABC News.

Here’s the full response:

For those who may not be as familiar with the former governor as we are, CNN asks “Who is Steve Beshear?” Well, I can help you out a little: That guy? Ain’t him.

Bustle goes one further, asking, “Who is Andy Beshear? Steve Beshear’s Son has a political career of his own.” Also, not him.

And Bustle again asks, “Who is Steve Beshear’s Father?” And closer, but still — not him.

Likely the most compelling reason Democrats went with Beshear centers around the debate surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act, as demonstrated in Sen. Paul’s crusade above. Under Beshear’s tenure as governor, Kentucky’s ACA exchange, Kynect, was heralded as a national model for the program.

President Trump mentioned Kentucky and Gov. Matt Bevin in his speech, saying:

“Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky just said Obamacare is failing in his state — it is unsustainable and collapsing.”

Gov. Bevin dismantled Kynect last year, transitioning to the federal program, so part of why it might not be working as well could be a natural result of him working so hard to get rid of it. “This car is worthless. It just won’t run. I mean, I know I took out the engine and transmission, but still. Worthless.”

Mr. Beshear’s response:

“You and your Republican allies in Congress seem determined to rip affordable health insurance away from millions of Americans who most need it.

“This isn’t a game, it’s life and death for people. These ideas promise access to care but deny the importance of making care affordable and effective. They would charge families more for fewer benefits and put the insurance companies back in control.”

“[Those benefiting from the ACA] aren’t aliens from a distant planet. They’re our friends and neighbors.”

There’s Always Next Year: It’s not even been a week since the big Oscars telecast, which — wait. Did you see that on Sunday? For the few of you who might not have, this happened at the end of the broadcast for the biggest award of the night.

Anytime you see stage management or a bunch of people with headsets rushing about the stage, something has gone wrong.

For my money, that third producer is in the weirdest spot. The first two don’t know any better yet, but by the time it’s his turn, they know that’s not their award, but he still has to talk. Which also begs the question: If the first producer, Jordan Horowitz, hadn’t said anything, what would they have done? Would they have just gone off the air?

So as the fallout from Sunday night settles, the loathed E! already is looking ahead to next year, with early favorites for the 2018 award. For “Best Actress” they’re eyeing Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence in two yet-to-be-released films. Ms. Stone, this year’s winner for “La La Land,” will play tennis legend Billie Jean King opposite Steve Carell in “Battle of the Sexes.” Ms. Lawrence will star in “mother!” helmed by Darren Aronofsky, with whom she’s now romantically linked.

So look for Ms. Lawrence back at the show in 2018, though according to Variety, there are a couple of people who won’t be able to join her: Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, the two accountants from Price Waterhouse responsible for handing out the award envelopes.

See you next week.