Cue the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy quote in 3...2...1...


Sometimes the joke just writes itself.

“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”

--― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

via Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine:

Yesterday, House Speaker Paul Ryan boasted that his party would follow a deliberate, transparent process to repeal and replace Obamacare. “This is how the legislative process is supposed to be designed,” he told the Today show. “We’re not hatching some bill in a backroom and plopping it on the American people’s front door.” Today, House Republicans made it known that they will release their plan tomorrow and that it will only be made available to House Republicans. Representative Chris Collins tells the Washington Examiner the plan “would be made available Thursday morning to Republicans in a basement room of an office building that adjoins the Capitol.”

It is not clear what distinction Ryan draws between a “backroom” and a “basement room” only members of his party may access.

The reason Republicans want to keep their plan hidden is fairly obvious. It would leave millions of Americans who currently have insurance unable to afford coverage.

Oh, and one more thing which will no doubt rekindle a thousand "...we have to pass it so you can find out what's in it" Nancy Pelosi jokes:

...The Congressional Budget Office will officially estimate the bill’s effects on insurance coverage and the deficit. Alas, Collins also tells the Hill newspaper that the committee will vote on the bill before CBO releases its score, so exactly who will get hurt will not be known precisely.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject, here's the context/backstory of Pelosi's infamous "We have to pass the bill..." quote:

That quote, often truncated to “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” or even just paraphrased to hew to the right’s narrative of the quote, has been perverted to mean that the Affordable Care Act was just too many pages, and Democrats just wanted it passed without anyone reading it, and rammed it down America’s throat. While Gregory at least read the whole quote, his interpretation was similar to the narrative that developed over time, that “there was such a rush to get this done—no Republicans voting for it—and now there are unintended effects of this that were foreseen at the time, that you couldn’t know the impact of, and that now this is coming home to roost?”

The influence of that narrative is a testament to the effectiveness of a relentless echo chamber. Here’s how Pelosi’s quote was covered by Politico on the day she made it:

Pelosi: People won’t appreciate reform until it passes

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that people won’t appreciate how great the Democrat’s health plan is until after it passes.

“You’ve heard about the controversies, the process about the bill…but I don’t know if you’ve heard that it is legislation for the future – not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America,” she told the National Association of Counties annual legislative conference, which has drawn about 2,000 local officials to Washington. “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it – away from the fog of the controversy.”

During a 20-minute speech, she touted benefits she thinks will be tangible to the audience’s employers. She said there’s support for public health infrastructure and investments in community health centers that will reduce uncompensated care that hospitals now need to deliver.

“You know as well as anyone that our current system is unsustainable,” said Pelosi (D-Calif.). “The final health care legislation, which will soon be passed by the Congress, will deliver successful reforms at the local level.”

Almost immediately, though, the conservative media seized on the quote, and perverted it into an indictment of the law’s complexity. The meaning that was so perfectly plain to an objective reporter on that day has been completely lost.

Pelosi's point, of course, wasn't that the Democrats were trying to hide/mask what was in the ACA--it was discussed/debated quite openly for months, and there was tons of information/details about it easily available to anyone who wanted it. Her point is that the GOP, FOX News, Breitbart etc. were lying through their teeth to the public about what the bill included ("death panels", "sent to jail if you don't sign up", etc etc), and that most people would likely be confused about what actually was included in the ACA until after it actually went into effect...which is exactly what ended up happening (and even now, 7 years later, tons of people still don't seem to be aware that the only reason they have coverage is thanks to the law.