The American people are looking to their representatives in Congress to set aside partisan interests and find a way to “fix and repair” the Affordable Care Act, rather than push through measures that will only lead to millions of Americans losing their insurance coverage.
After weeks of trying to unsuccessfully ram through a bill that even some Republicans themselves find objectionable, the Republican leadership in the Senate has signaled a willingness to work with Democrats. This is promising, and it should be pursued.
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is reported to have personally contacted Democrats to see whether they might be more willing partners in fixing the health-care system. Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, had also been in touch with Democrats who say they can move on to work with moderate Republicans on a bipartisan health care legislation.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said so. Democrats are open to compromise in an effort to improve the existing law. Pelosi indicated, for instance, they can accept a Republican plan of expanding Health Saving Accounts if Republicans were willing to accept the expansion of Medicaid, which provides care for low-income families and disabled Americans. Fixing the individual insurance market and reining in the Pharmaceutical industry are issues that should also be on the table.
Republican governors, like John Kasich of Ohio, is also calling for reform, not repeal, of Obamacare. “You cannot have major changes in major programs affecting things like health care without including Democrats from the very beginning,” he said, urging leaders from both parties “to grow up and start serving Americans.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, while not publicly addressing the broader issue, has said that Congress should keep the parts of the law that work and get rid of those that do not.
At town hall meetings across the country, lawmakers are facing angry constituents who are increasingly concerned about measures that would, for example, annihilate the pre-existing-condition requirements and other ACA provisions that they now find beneficial.
The issue isn’t Obamacare anymore but about health insurance in general. If lawmakers truly want to do the right thing for the American people, they should set aside politics and work together to build and improve health care for all.