The last minute, strictly partisan push by Senate Republicans has seemingly ruined bipartisan efforts to stabilize health care. Senate Republicans are hoping to get to 51 votes by September 30th so they can repeal and replace parts of Obamacare and live up to their campaign promises of the last seven years. They should be ashamed.
Following the July defeat of Trumpcare, Senate Republicans began to acknowledge they should seek bipartisan agreements on improving America’s health care system. It appears they caught up to the wishes of the general public. The bipartisan work began in a Senate Health Committee when Republican Chair Lamar Alexander and Ranking Democrat Patty Murray, moved forward on stabilization efforts. Turns out, that again was an empty gesture by the majority.
Today following the rushed backroom conversations in the Republican caucus, Senator Alexander released this statement saying the bipartisan efforts had failed:
They hoped to agree “early this week,” Alexander said. Instead, the Graham-Cassidy bill gained momentum among Republicans over the weekend. Bipartisanship be damned because there is an opportunity for a political win. Graham-Cassidy took the place of this effort at the beginning of the week.
Following the end of July defeat of Trumpcare, North Dakota’s Senator John Hoeven said:
We will continue those effort [to fix health care] and hope that Democrats will join us to make reforms to the health care system that will provide Americans with access to patient-centered health care and health insurance at an affordable rate.
I encourage you to read Hoeven’s full statement from July 28th. One of the criticisms I’ve had of him is he attempts to defend an indefensible process in the Senate. That lack of process led Senator John McCain to cast the deciding ‘NO’ vote in July. Well, you can throw that talking point out the window. The GOP led House has indicated on more than one occasion they’ll simply pass whatever the Senate passes. This includes the Graham-Cassidy bill. In a press conference earlier today, Lindsey Graham said Speak Paul Ryan was supportive of the bill and eager to usher it through the House. Without question, President Trump is eager to sign whatever Congress puts on his desk. John Hoeven will take part in that gamble of your health care access.
Remember Senator John Hoeven told North Dakotans he would not vote for the Senate health care bills because of the dramatic impacts they would have on the state. Specifically, he said he didn’t like the Medicaid cuts. He voted for those bills anyway and will vote for this version without knowing the full impacts.
Democrats have offered input and amendments, each has been voted down by Republicans. The work started by Alexander and Murray seemed like the beginning to a solid bipartisan effort Americans crave. It was all thrown out the window this week because of Republicans who are great at providing lip service without results.
Hardly anyone besides Republican politicians in Congress seems to like this bill. Earlier today a bipartisan group of Governors issued a statement declaring their opposition. Governor Burgum did not sign on to the letter. This bipartisan group of Governors was joined in opposition by the American Medical Association, AARP, American Heart Association, and so many more experts involved with health care. Why on Earth – besides politics – would they want to put their name to this?
This indefensible “process” being utilized by Senate Republicans is as absurd as their arguments for the bill itself. If they truly believed their bill was the best solution moving forward they wouldn’t be rushing in secrecy to meet a budget deadline. The only reason they want to beat the Sept. 30th date is so they can avoid the true bipartisan work we deserve when it comes to our health care system. After Sept. 30th they’d be forced to work with Democrats. What a novel idea? What a shame.