Defending the Republicans’ approach, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, said this week that there had been “gazillions of hearings” on repealing the Affordable Care Act over the years.
That has created an air of distrust and concern — on and off Capitol Hill, with Democrats but also with Republicans.
“I’ve said from Day 1, and I’ll say it again,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee. “The process is better if you do it in public, and that people get buy-in along the way and understand what’s going on. Obviously, that’s not the route that is being taken.”
The secrecy surrounding the Senate measure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is remarkable — at least for a health care measure this consequential.
Republican leaders this week defended their actions.
“Look, we’ve been dealing with this issue for seven years,” said the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “It’s not a new thing.”
Mr. McConnell said there had been “gazillions of hearings on this subject” over the years — a less-than-precise tabulation that offered little comfort to Democrats who want hearings held now, in this particular year, on the contents of this particular bill.
In the summer of 2009, when Democratic members of Congress were defending their effort to remake the nation’s health care system, they were taunted by crowds chanting, “Read the bill, read the bill.”