The circumstances are oddly familiar. For months, Republicans were desperate to take a sledgehammer to the American health care system; Jimmy Kimmel was making emotional pleas on the public’s behalf; governors and patient advocates urged GOP lawmakers to change direction; and much of the political world scrutinized every syllable from Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, John McCain, and a handful of others, wondering whether they’d put country over party.
And though many Americans probably thought the fight was over, here we are in mid-September, facing identical circumstances. The Washington Post reported:
Senate Republicans and the White House pressed ahead Tuesday with their suddenly resurgent effort to undo former president Barack Obama’s signature health-care law, even as their attempt was dealt a setback when a bipartisan group of governors and several influential interest groups came out against the proposal.
Powerful health-care groups continued to rail against the bill, including AARP and the American Hospital Association, both of which urged a no vote. But it was unclear whether the opposition would ultimately derail the attempt, as key Republican senators including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said they had yet to make up their minds.
Part of the challenge is knowing who, if anyone, congressional Republicans might listen to on the subject.
Do they care what governors think? Because if they do, a bipartisan group of governors yesterday urged GOP lawmakers to reject Graham-Cassidy. In all, at least six Republican governors – representing Ohio, Nevada, Maryland, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire – have announced their opposition to the regressive plan.
Do GOP lawmakers care what doctors think? Because the American Medical Association has formally denounced the Graham-Cassidy legislation.
Do Republicans care what hospital administrators think? Because the American Hospital Association has announced its opposition, too.
Do Republicans care about patient advocates? Because among the many national organizations that have condemned the GOP bill are AARP, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and March of Dimes.
Not to put too fine a point on this, but it’s genuinely difficult to find any major organization related to Americans’ well-being that wants Graham-Cassidy to become law. It’s not always easy to get doctors, hospitals, and patient advocates to link arms and agree on a common goal, but the bill pending on Capitol Hill has managed to pull this off quite quickly. It’s almost impressive.
What we don’t know is if there are three Republicans in the Senate who give a darn.