POLITICAL COMMENTARY – Hypocrisy in the House – District 7 politics.
May 19, 2017
Watching House Republicans giving high fives to the President and swilling beer in the Rose Garden to celebrate the passage of Trumpcare by two votes made me more than mildly nauseous. Not only were they celebrating a plan what would deny healthcare to more than twenty million poor and sick Americans, the bill also transferred more than one billion (WITH A “B”) dollars over ten years from our most vulnerable to our richest citizens.
Daily craziness from that white-columned building on Pennsylvania Avenue has diverted attention from Trumpcare (as has the Senate’s promise to ignore the House version completely), but we should pause for a moment to see what’s going on and understand our Congressman’s position. In what can only be understood as an opportunistic grab at self-preservation, Leonard Lance voted against the latest version of Trumpcare. But really, what choice did he have? He knew there was intense pressure from angry constituents who rebelled at diminishing the Affordable Care Act at his town hall meetings. To vote otherwise would have been pouring gas on the flames of outrage in District 7.
Just as one swallow does not a summer make, a vote against Trumpcare does not define our Congressman’s views on healthcare. A quick glance at Lance’s voting record reveals that when it comes to healthcare he’s trying to have his cake and eat it too: During the past seven years, he’s voted more than sixty times to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. At every opportunity, he voted to take each cockamamie version of Trumpcare out of committee and onto the floor for a vote. In the end, he decided to vote against the “final” House version because it probably would not survive in the Senate. That’s heartwarming. Not a word about the 20+ thousands of his constituents who could be denied care after 2020.
His position on Planned Parenthood is also revealing. As well as any representative, Lance knows that not a penny of taxpayer money supports Planned Parenthood’s abortion services (abortions represent 3 percent of their total services). By statute—never has, never will. Yet, Lance’s “solution” to funding Planned Parenthood is to split off the abortion services part of the organization, and only then will he consider funding their other health care operations. There’s a solution in search of a problem. If I knew what “disingenuous” meant, I’d probably use that word here.
Another stalwart New Jersey representative, Tom MacArthur, added an amendment to the latest Trumpcare bill that permits states to opt out of providing basic health care, allows waiving limits on insurance charges for the elderly, and authorizes permitting higher insurance rates for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
The amendment also provides that members of Congress and their staffs would retain the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
So, even though our representative voted against Trumpcare, he still retains ACA benefits.
When this congressional benefit became known, it smelled so bad that steps were taken to eliminate it. But, I wonder, had it not seen the light of day, would it have been changed?
The Trumpcare bill is 123 pages long, and I suspect much evil still lurks among its pages. Maybe it’s a good thing that the Senate plans to ignore it and provide its own version. Eleven old white guys are working on that draft. What could go wrong?
I am a member of Tewksbury Area Indivisibles. We intend to provide true political facts to District 7 voters. For more information visit us at https://sites.google.com/site/tewksburyareaindivisible/.