By Sam Stone
The Trump Administration may be less than two months old, but for conservatives, it may already be D-Day in Washington.
In less than 48 hours, the House of Representatives is set to vote on the curiously named “American Health Care Act” – the current GOP effort being pushed by Speaker Paul Ryan as a repeal and replacement of Obamacare.
This bill is the wrong idea at the wrong time and it does not deserve a “yes” vote. Right now, the count says that it’s too close to call. So every member of Congress counts.
Here’s our question: Will Trent keep his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare in a responsible way?
Let’s step back.
Trent Franks is no rookie when it comes to opposing Obamacare. Look at his record here. Lots of detail and votes against what he consistently calls: “Health care proposals that wrested control of the American health care industry from the hands of private organizations and turn it over to the federal government.”
Right when this year’s Congress began, Franks and Congressman Andy Biggs introduced the Protection from Obamacare Mandates and Congressional Equity Act.
Franks said it contained three bedrock principles:
- First, it gives every American more coverage options.
- Second, it would allow Americans to purchase their coverage across state lines, opening up more opportunities for competition that will, in turn, help to lower costs for consumers.
- Third, our alternative protects the patient-doctor relationship.
Just a month ago, Rep. Franks said: “My concern is [a repeal-replace bill] will give some lackadaisical senator a reason to vote against it. My concern is the entire repeal is in mortal danger … There may be some people who will get weak-kneed.”
These are valid concerns, but they sound like reasons not to vote for the current plan, which has all sorts of problems.
The reliable conservative policy think tank Heritage Action makes the fundamental case that the AHCA falls short:
“Many Americans seeking health insurance on the individual market will notice no significant difference between the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) and the American Health Care Act. That is bad politics and, more importantly, bad policy.
“Rather than accept the flawed premises of Obamacare, congressional Republicans should fully repeal the failed law and begin a genuine effort to deliver on longstanding campaign promises that create a free market health care system that empowers patients and doctors.”
Congressman Franks is a solid conservative leader. Currently, he is listed as “leaning no.” That’s why this is the ideal time to give him the support, encouragement and, well, cautionary warning he may need to stay true to his principles and his promises by not resting until Obamacare is gone – and in its place a true, principled alternative – instead of Obamacare-lite.