By J. D. Heyes, editor-in-chief
(National Sentinel) Healthcare: After voters handed Republicans majorities in the House and Senate, then — for good measure — gave them the White House too, repealing and replacing Obamacare should have been a good, old-fashioned legislative slam-dunk.
Ah, but we’re talking about Washington, D.C. — and Congress, and power, and the swamp, and donors, and all of those other competing interests our men and women of the ruling GOP pay much more heed than America’s tax-paying working stiffs.
Forget campaign promises — years of them, in fact…ever since the Democrats handed us the worst piece of legislation in the history of legislation. It’s the disaster that keeps on giving, and repealing it was supposed to be the one unifying factor within a divided Republican caucus, as voters were told time and time again since Barack Obama signed it in 2010.
While tens of millions of Americans and thousands of businesses struggle to pay for the mandates of Obamacare; as insurance rates continue to skyrocket; as out-of-pocket expenses continue to pile up; as American families continue to debate whether to pay for health insurance or a place to live — from Senate Republicans “debating” Obamacare repeal, we are getting the legislative equivalent of the used car sales pitch: You won’t find a better deal anywhere else…unless, of course, you bother to look.
What’s the problem, Mr. Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader? Why after we were continually promised an Obamacare repeal-and-replace slam-dunk do we not yet have it?
Could it be that your heart, and the hearts of other GOP members of your chamber, aren’t in the right place?
Yeah. That’s probably it. As Lifezette noted on Monday:
A quick browse through McConnell’s campaign purse makes his priorities in the health care battle crystal clear. His priorities aren’t middle-class John and Jane Q. Taxpayer — they’re Humana Inc., Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Metlife Inc., and a couple of Fortune 500 health care companies that, all combined, have spent nearly half a million dollars to keep McConnell in office. See, if you’re a working-class American shouldering the burden of Obamacare, then you probably didn’t donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to get Mitch McConnell elected, but if you’re the health care industry, you did.
This is a bill of the swamp, by the swamp, and for the swamp. McConnell put together a team of 13 Republican Senators to cobble together a health care bill. Of those 13 Senators, nine have Blue Cross/Blue Shield listed as a major donor on opensecrets.org. Two of the four senators on McConnell’s health care dream team who don’t receive major donations from Blue Cross/Blue Shield — Ted Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — have become the bill’s most vocal critics.
Staring to get the picture, conservative America? We’ve been had — again — by those who claim to be on our side.
“When the Senate health care bill fails, McConnell must be held accountable. After a 2016 election that signaled a clear anti-swamp mandate, how can Republicans in the Senate still follow a leader whose primary issue as an elected official has been protecting the power and influence of big donor PACs and lobbyists? A leader who assumed his Senate seat in those halcyon days of the mid 80s when Reagan was president, and the band Wham! was still together — a veritable poster boy for term limits? A leader who doomed this bill to failure both through process and content?” noted Lifezette.
“Nothing will be done for the sake of the middle class as long as Mitch McConnell is Senate majority leader, and that is anathema to the Trump mandate.”
That’s about as spot-on as it gets. There is nothing stopping repeal-and-replace of Obamacare except Republicans, whom voters gave a majority for the primary purpose of giving them their healthcare back.
But if this effort fails, it isn’t just McConnell who ought to be held accountable. Every single Republican waffler who ran (and won) on the premise and promise of getting rid of the worst piece of legislation ever should be as well. There are primaries for a reason, and the sooner voters begin to use that process for real, the sooner Congress will once again resemble a body of people elected to represent us, not the donor class.