Any health care plan that satisfies only one of our major political parties is never going to satisfy enough of our nation’s people.
Democrats proved this with the Affordable Care Act. The party passed the plan without a Republican vote in the House or the Senate, and seven years later it’s clear that the law largely cost Democrats control of both chambers of Congress. Now it’s Republicans’ turn to call the plays and to leave Democrats out of the huddle. But even while holding majorities smaller than the Democrats had in 2009, and with less-than-unanimous support in its own fold, the GOP has been unable to pass health care reform. The party has, though, managed to craft its own deeply unpopular legislation.
It’s time to understand history, rather than doom ourselves to repeat it. It’s time the parties worked together to craft a plan that can satisfy more Americans and, more important, provide for their needs.
And maybe this is the beginning. In his inspiring return to the Senate floor last week, cancer-stricken GOP Sen. John McCain, known for his bipartisanship, said each side “must give a little to get a little.” Then he personally drove the last nail into the coffin of the GOP’s current plan.
On Monday, a collection of 44 House members called the Problem Solvers Caucus, half Democrats and half Republicans, released its own starting point for a plan. It includes stabilizing the individual insurance market, repealing the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices, moving the mandated size at which companies must provide insurance from 50 workers to 500 and creating groups of states in which insurance could be sold across state lines.
Other groups are also working on consensus ideas, from making premiums for people who buy their own coverage tax deductible to letting states have more options. Rep. Thomas Suozzi, the Glen Cove Democrat who is vice chairman of the Problem Solvers, said, “What’s more important than the specific proposals is that we’re working together, because that’s what people want. This is serious stuff. People are scared.”
Americans are caught in the middle of GOP extremists who claim they can improve care by taking away people’s coverage and Democrats who demand single-payer universal coverage. It’s going to take a solution from the middle to set the nation free.