Dec 04 2015
Nearly six years ago the Senate was on the verge of passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This week, we voted to repeal that insultingly misnamed law.
Back in the winter of 2009, of course, we still had yet to pass the bill to see what was in it – though you didn’t need a PhD in economics to foresee that the Affordable Care Act would be a mess.
It wasn’t just conservatives and Republicans raising concerns. Every sensible observer saw the obvious flaws and inevitable disasters embedded in the rickety, ideological scheme congressional Democrats were foisting on the American people in an exercise of unprecedented partisanship.
Six years later, the Democratic Party’s dream of Obamacare has become the American people’s nightmare.
For the past five years, the American people have lived with – and suffered through – the chaos and dysfunction wrought by Obamacare’s assault on American health care. And at every step along the way, opposition to the law has grown stronger and calls for its repeal have grown louder.
Which brought us to this week’s vote in the Senate.
Last year, Republicans running for Congress promised to repeal Obamacare as a first step toward replacing it with real health care and insurance reform.
And it was largely on the basis of this pledge that the American people put the G.O.P. in charge of both the House and the Senate.
The bill that the Senate passed this week brings us as close to fulfilling that promise as is possible under Senate rules, pursuant to the instructions from the budget resolution that Congress passed a few months ago.
I applaud the Majority Leader for his steadfast leadership over the past several days and weeks, and I commend the Senate Budget Committee for their tireless efforts, as Republicans worked together to craft a reconciliation package that doesn’t just tinker around Obamacare’s edges, but lays the ground work for it to be erased from the books altogether.
This is the only responsible step for Congress to take – because by the law’s own standards – according to the promises of the ideologues who imposed it on an unwilling country – Obamacare has been a failure.
"I applaud the Majority Leader for his steadfast leadership over the past several days and weeks, and I commend the Senate Budget Committee for their tireless efforts, as Republicans worked together to craft a reconciliation package that doesn’t just tinker around Obamacare’s edges, but lays the ground work for it to be erased from the books altogether."
But saying “no” is not enough. Conservatives and Republicans must also offer the country a health-care reform agenda to be for.
Already there are a number of conservative leaders in Congress who have developed reform plans that would replace Obamacare’s cumbersome, bureaucratic, and expensive health system with one that is flexible, decentralized, and affordable.
We must build on these plans and advance legislation that empowers patients and families – not distant, coercive bureaucracies – to decide how they want to spend their health care dollars, and that encourages innovation and investment across all health sectors.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act is the first step in that process – the beginning, not the end, of our road to building a market-based, patient-centered health system in America.
I was glad to join my colleagues in voting to repeal Obamacare and I look forward to entering this new phase of health reform together.