U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate majority leader, has first postponed the vote on the repeal and replace of President Obama’s signature law, the Affordable Care Act, and then on Tuesday decided to proceed with plan ‘C’, which would repeal the law without a replacement. Three Republican Senators, including Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, immediately voiced their opposition to that misguided approach, leaving the vote very unlikely to be taken or even to succeed.
How can we go into a secure healthy future, which clearly must be shaped by bipartisan compromise, when the powers that be don’t even consider a reasonable replacement?
Despite thousands of people camped out in their Senator’s offices, pleading with them not to get rid of ACA, nearly begging for affordable health insurance that they currently enjoy, the Republican leadership decided to stand its ground to repeal but has no consensus even in their own ranks to come up with a reasonable replacement plan.
After seven years of complaining and whining about how the law – which extended coverage to millions of Americans through its expansion of Medicaid, including in Alaska— is a “disaster”, the Republican majority in Senate and House has been unable to accomplish their goal. Sure, some elements of the ACA need to be fixed, insurance markets need to be stabilized and people must be given reasonable and affordable choices.
Senator Lisa Murkowski should be commended for her decision to not stand with the Republican leadership and to voice opposition. She said she cannot vote to repeal ACA without a reform which would allow people “the choice they want, the affordability they need and the quality of care they deserve.”
It shows the true colors of Republicans, mainly from the far right and Tea Party, as they excelled in unconstructive complaining but come short of the skills or the will to actually produce something that is worthy of their colleagues’ consideration and time.
Now is the time for the Senate on both sides of the aisle to get to work, and fix what needs fixing instead of just throwing out the whole baby with the bathwater. —D.H.—