By J. D. Heyes, editor-in-chief
(National Sentinel) Healthcare reform: The worst piece of healthcare legislation ever — Obamacare — remains the law of the land this morning because a few too many Republican senators are just hypocrites.
After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate leaders assembled a partial repeal/replace bill over the last couple of weeks and even delayed the Senate’s traditional August recess by a couple of weeks in order to wrap up this much-needed reform effort, it wasn’t enough: In the end, four senators have said they won’t sign onto the latest iteration of “reform” because…well, because they’re hypocrites.
Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, have voted consistently to repeal Obamacare. But they refused to sign on to the current Senate bill because they said it didn’t go far enough in repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Fine. But it did go some of the way, senators — right? And since Obamacare has been the law of the land for seven years, shouldn’t there be some “adjustment” time built into any legislation, to give insurers, physicians, hospitals and patients time to adjust to the new market?
“Moderate” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, had voted consistently to repeal and replace Obamacare — when she knew that her votes were meaningless. As the record notes, Collins voted against Obamacare initially, then voted for repeal twice — in Feb. 2011 and July 2015. She refused to sign on to the current repeal effort because she claims it is “too extreme” in scaling back Medicaid; gee whiz, senator, what did you think full repeal would do? Oh, but then you were casting “yes” votes when you knew that President Obama would veto those efforts. Got it.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., has the same record of voting as Collins does — “yes” on repeal in 2011 and 2015. But not this time. Why? Because there’s a president in office who, like these other Republicans, campaigned on repeal and replace, so he’ll actually sign the legislation.
If it ever gets to him.
Frankly, this is unacceptable. Americans who voted for Donald J. Trump and who supported Republican incumbents or candidates for office during the past seven years have all cast their ballots in part based on the promise to repeal Obamacare.
This should have been a slam-dunk. Why hasn’t been?
Now McConnell says he’ll introduce the same legislation that Collins, Moran, Lee and Paul all voted for in 2015. “Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful. So, in the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up … a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable health care,” he said in a statement.
Maybe he should have done that in the first place? Perhaps. But what’s amazing is that political media is already reporting that effort isn’t likely to succeed either.
It’s highly unlikely to succeed, but conservative groups won’t consider the GOP’s health care promises to be fulfilled until Republicans have at least tried a straight repeal vote. It will put enormous pressure on the moderates, who are sure to have reservations. But as conservatives will remind them, most of them already voted for straight repeal in 2015 — and it will be hard to explain why they wouldn’t do it again.
But like Democrats, these Republican incumbents seem to be missing the hypocrisy gene.
What’s really maddening is that some of these same Republicans who probably won’t vote for straight repeal this time will claim their “constituents” don’t want that. Really? But they wanted in in 2011? In 2015? And after you voted for repeal, you got reelected? What should that tell you?
Really, this inability to repeal and replace the worst piece of public policy in a century boils down this: A classic case of “donor-itis.” Hospital and medical groups, hooked on government funding, don’t want to lose it. Insurers hooked on bailout money don’t want to lose it.
Who loses? The average American who faces a stark choice every single day: Pay for a place to live or pay for health insurance.
It is galling and outrageous that Republican lawmakers who have for years campaigned on promises to end this nightmare won’t do so when the opportunity arrives.
As I have written before, Americans who are buying their own insurance and medical coverage free from government “funding” should not have to comply with a set of rules, mandates and other requirements imposed by government. Uncle Sam definitely has an interest in the game when he’s forking out hundreds of billions of dollars per year in health care costs; but his rules and regulations should pertain only to those Americans who are taking the hand-outs:
Uncle Sam is never going to completely get out of the health care industry. Medicare, Medicaid and the VA aren’t going away. But if Republicans really cared about individual freedom and restoring health care liberty and choice, they should concentrate on a healthcare reform that allows the free market to operate outside of government interference, while keeping controls in place for government-fundedhealthcare programs.
By doing that, the GOP would also be giving Americans a huge incentive to not be on “government-provided” insurance and care. And via the free market, where insurance companies and health care providers once again had to compete for customers, prices would finally begin to fall, while quality (and efficiency) of care would rise.
That is health care “reform.”
But we can’t get there with too many hypocrite Republicans holding up the process.
Update: McConnell’s straight-up repeal effort is looking like it is doomed as well — and for the same reason: GOP hypocrites.