Hoeven Flips: Supported Unpopular Senate Health Care Bill

Hours after voting for the motion to proceed on the health care debate, Senator John Hoeven flipped on his constituents and previous public comments and voted for the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). The very unpopular BCRA has been roundly rejected by every major medical and advocacy group in North Dakota and around the country. Fortunately, the bill was ultimately rejected. Previously, Hoeven came out against this bill after it was removed from the Senate calendar because of a lack of support. He went public after the decision was made by Mitch McConnell.

Analysis shows the bill Hoeven voted for late yesterday would kick 22 million people off of insurance, raise premiums by 20%, and cut Medicaid by $772 billion dollars. On the flip side, there was $541 billion in tax cuts for CEOs and Wall Street financiers. No wonder why this bill was unpopular. It was only a slight improvement from the bill Hoeven’s Congressional colleague Kevin Cramer voted for in the House.

I emphasize the $772 billion in Medicaid cuts because that was one of the empty reasons Hoeven said he opposed the Senate’s bill earlier this month. Two weeks ago I pointed this out on ND xPlains. In his July 7th statement he said, “I do not support the Senate health care bill in its current form and am especially concerned by the CBO’s analysis of the bill’s impact on Medicaid.” Nothing had changed regarding Medicaid in this bill besides Hoeven’s vote.

Hoeven has been peppering his public statements on health care with the term “process.” He throws it around as if he thinks the “process” he allowed his leader Mitch McConnell to undertake is normal. It is not. It is reprehensible. Hoeven is being complaisant. Zero public hearings on a bill that impacts every American and one-fifth of the U.S. economy. Reprehensible and irresponsible.

Statements mean nothing when you have a vote. What Hoeven’s vote yesterday indicates is he’s in McConnell’s partisan corner on health care and not with AARP, the North Dakota Medical Association, the North Dakota Hospital Association, or the Long-Term Care Association, the very groups and members he met with before declaring he was opposed to the BCRA. Last night, Hoeven joined Kevin Cramer in support of something that would close rural hospitals, kick thousands of North Dakotans off insurance, and raise premiums on working families. Hoeven just appears better at concealing his intentions from the public until it is time to vote.

Tyler Axness
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