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On Tuesday, Vox’s Jeff Stein interviewed nine Republican senators to try to get them to explain how the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal/replace bill will help Americans. To be fair, this is a tough question, because the bill almost certainly will not help anyone—it will actually probably hurt people. It hasn’t been scored by the CBO yet but would likely result in millions of Americans losing their health insurance and cause massive increases in premiums for people with preexisting conditions (a list that includes, of course, pregnancy).

All of them sounded like idiots, but none quite did it like Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts (R), whom you may remember from his joke about mammograms. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Pat Roberts, master of metaphor, top Obamacare repeal-understander, movie buff, and patron saint of saying the stuff he shouldn’t:

Pat Roberts

... [Graham-Cassidy] is the last stage out of Dodge City. I’m from Dodge City. So it’s the last stage out to do anything. Restoring decision-making back to the states is always a good idea, but this is not the best possible bill — this is the best bill possible under the circumstances.

If we do nothing, I think it has a tremendous impact on the 2018 elections. And whether or not Republicans still maintain control and we have the gavel.

Jeff Stein

But why does this bill make things better for Americans? How does it help?

Pat Roberts

Pardon me?

Jeff Stein

Why does this make things better? What is this doing?

Pat Roberts

Look, we’re in the back seat of a convertible being driven by Thelma and Louise, and we’re headed toward the canyon. That’s a movie that you’ve probably never seen —

Jeff Stein

I do know Thelma and Louise, sir.

Pat Roberts

So we have to get out of the car, and you have to have a car to get into, and this is the only car there is.


Ah! The only car there is, I see. We’ve gotta get in it, because we’re going... somewhere. Here’s another metaphor for Pat: in college my friend Caroline accidentally put diesel fuel in my 2004 Honda Civic. As I parked it behind my dorm, it started to smell like gas and then smoke started pouring out of the back, so I got out of the fucking car and called a mechanic to prevent the engine from melting or whatever. And then they fixed my car, and I got back in it and drove 500 feet to the campus deli, because I wanted a tuna sandwich and a cookie.

Please read more stunning takes on healthcare reform from your elected officials here.

Ellie is a freelance writer and former senior writer at Jezebel. She is pursuing a master's degree in science journalism at Columbia University in the fall.

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