I’ve been quiet on politics for the last while. (Well, politics that don’t directly involve Trump.) But with the Senate doing its Senate thing for the past few days and all the drama surrounding it, I decided I might as well chime in with an update on where I stand with the whole mess.
Because healthcare is still a mess in this country. No doubt about it. Talk to ten different people, and you’re going to get ten different opinions about our system. I know people who are really upset by the spike in health insurance prices. They feel like the current direction is unsustainable. On the flip side, I know people who sing Obamacare’s praises. They weren’t able to get insurance at all before it was enacted, and the thought of it being repealed is seriously upsetting to them.
I personally am relieved the Senate vote failed. I’ve admired Senator Collins for the principled stand she’s been taking, and I’ve been proud she represents me in the Senate. Likewise, I’m thankful to Senators Murkowski and McCain. While McCain deserves recognition for casting the deciding vote, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Collins and Murkowski made that possible by staunchly voting against the repeal all along.
Why am I relieved the vote failed? Because I feel like the Republicans aren’t focused on actually making a good replacement. They’re focused on saving face. On being able to say “We repealed Obamacare!” simply because that’s what they’ve somehow decided is most important to people.
The thing is, most people I talk to agree that our healthcare system is a mess. But they also agree that the healthcare system before Obamacare was a mess. I don’t believe these are the two options for healthcare in our country: either the mess we have now or the mess we had before. So repealing Obamacare without an actual plan in place to fix the mess is just a bad idea.
I liked the reasoning McCain gave for his vote that stopped this in its tracks: he wants a return to the time when both sides came together and made bills that were a compromise. I feel like this is the answer to the political quagmire we’re stuck in. We need politicians who are ready and willing to listen across the aisle and come up with something that’s not 100% exactly what their base wants, but gets enough to keep people happy. Right now, it’s like both sides have just dug in and said they’re only going to do what their side wants to do, and fight tooth and nail against anything coming from the other side.
That’s why I respect the three Senators who stopped this. They saw a bad thing and weren’t afraid to vote publicly against it.
I don’t know what the solution is. I know it’s not to wash your hands and “let Obamacare implode.” These are people’s lives at stake. It’s not the time to pack your game up and take it home because you couldn’t win. I hope that’s the lesson learned here, but I doubt it will be.
I wish someone would come up with a bill that split the difference. That we started to improve Obamacare. Build on the things it did well, and fix the things it didn’t.
But maybe I’m just dreaming.