Last week, a Senate Democrats – together with Republican Senators Collins, Murkowski and McCain – gave an emphatic “NO” to the ill-conceived, cruel, and dramatically unpopular health care bill hawked by Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump. In the days since the bills defeat, Trump has threatened to take action to purposely crater key elements of the Affordable Care Act, seemingly not at all bothered by the devastating impact such actions would have on millions of Americans.
In a welcome, if not overdue, move, key Senate Republicans are now asserting leadership by standing up to Trump’s maneuvering. These Senators have signaled a willingness to work with Democrats to improve the Affordable Care Act, instead of sabotaging it as Trump intends. Reports the New York Times: “Republicans on both sides of the Capitol scrambled Tuesday to defuse President Trump’s threat to cut off critical health insurance payments, moving around the president toward bipartisan legislation to shore up the Affordable Care Act.”
“Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the influential chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, announced that his panel would begin work in early September on legislation to “stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance market” for 2018. He publicly urged Mr. Trump to continue making payments to health insurance companies to reimburse them for reducing the out-of-pocket medical expenses of low-income people.”
We are cautiously optimistic that some Senate Republicans are finally ready to put country ahead of politics. Time will tell.