President Trump has asked Sen. John Barrasso and two other Republican U.S. senators to take the lead on crafting a “spectacular” health care system to replace the Affordable Care Act.
This is not good news. It would in fact be laughable if health care was not such a serious issue affecting all Americans.
Barrasso is a doctor, but he’s also been one of the most vehement opponents of “Obamacare” on Capitol Hill.
“I’ve been working on a [health care] plan since the day I got to the Senate,” Barrasso said in a “Meet the Press” interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd last month. He was elected in 2008.
After hearing Barrasso’s braggadocio, Wyoming voters and the rest of the country have a right to ask the high-profile senator this question: “Where’s your plan?” For that matter, where’s any Republican plan?
Did the dog eat Barrasso’s homework? We’re entitled to know what he’s really been doing about the issue, other than slowly poisoning the system that millions of Americans rely on.
There are currently nearly 25,000 people in the state who get their health insurance through the ACA’s federal Health Marketplace. Our residents don’t need baseless claims or scattershot, politically motivated policy amendments — they need affordable, high quality health care.
Republicans like Barrasso have, since failing to block the original legislation, done nothing but sow doubt about its efficacy, obstruct its implementation, undermine its benefit to the American people and waste resources trying to repeal the law.
“Repeal and replace” was their mantra, but there was never any “replace” proposal. It was a sham from the beginning and Barrasso was a leading player.
Democrats and a few valiant Republicans, led by the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., stepped in and kept a monumental mistake from happening. Had the GOP been “successful” in doing President Trump’s bidding, more than 30 million Americans would have immediately lost their health insurance.
Barrasso and the others assigned to create this supposedly brave new health care plan — Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Rick Scott, R-Fla. — blindly parrot the absurd claims of a president who is, to put it mildly, a pathological liar.
Why would anyone in their right mind believe Trump when he promises voters that whatever Barrasso and company concoct will be a great health care plan? He even predicted Democrats will love it.
Republicans hope a federal judge’s ruling overturning the ACA will be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., quickly nixed the idea advanced by Trump that the upper chamber will make repealing the ACA a priority this year.
“I made it clear to him that we were not going to be doing that in the Senate,” McConnell said he told Trump.
GOP members of Congress fought passage of the ACA with falsehoods, claiming federal “death panels” would decide who lives and who dies. They unconscionably scared senior citizens who believed them.
The last decade has instead been an exercise in pure partisanship and obstructionism with two goals in mind: 1) protect the broken health care system status quo that threatened to cripple our society but did a great job funding political campaigns, and 2) deny a popular Democratic president any type of victory.
Barrasso receives many campaign donations from doctors, physician groups, pharmaceutical companies and other health care related entities. How much influence will they have in the process of creating the “sweeping” health care reform that Trump promised?
Republicans finally realized in 2016 that despite their dire, false warnings about the ACA, that negatively influenced public opinion during Obama’s two terms, Americans like many things about it.
People appreciate the fact that the law prevents insurance companies from denying anyone health coverage because they have pre-existing medical conditions. Once the GOP caught on, the party claimed with a collective straight face that it would protect the very same provisions they vociferously fought to repeal!
And they will still expect voters to buy this nonsense when the next senatorial elections are held.
The funniest thing I’ve heard Barrasso say in years was his phony cry for bipartisanship after trying — and failing — to take a flamethrower to Obamacare.
“There are things that are working,” he conceded, “but we need bipartisan support at a time when the Democrats want to take over all of health care and eliminate insurance from 160 million Americans,” he told.
If Americans are given a chance to evaluate all Democratic and Republican health care proposals without being blinded by the shrill rhetoric of ACA opponents like Barrasso, I have no doubt they will choose Medicare for all who want it.
Of course, that’s if Republicans even develop a health care plan. Don’t hold your breath waiting for one to appear... you will turn blue and need to see a doctor at once.
It shouldn’t be Barrasso, who gave up his medical practice when he became a senator. He still plays one on TV — Fox News mostly — but he’s going to be too busy carrying out Trump’s latest hoax on Americans to make any house calls.
Veteran Wyoming journalist Kerry Drake has covered Wyoming for more than four decades, previously as a reporter and editor for the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle and Casper Star-Tribune. He lives in Casper and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. WyoFile is an independent nonprofit news organization focused on Wyoming people, places and policy.