POINT-COUNTERPOINT: Real bipartisan progress needed on health care reform | Columnists

I have to compliment the progressives about sticking together to achieve results.

When the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare was passed in 2010 it went through the so-called reconciliation process to avoid a Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate. Republicans have a majority in 2017 and a president who will sign a repeal and replacement bill, but Republicans have failed to pass one. In fact, the Democrats have so deeply rooted their Affordable Care Act (which is not affordable for most Americans) that we are now told that Obamacare cannot be fully repealed without a filibuster-proof majority of Republicans in the U.S. Senate.

The Republicans have campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare for more than 7 years now. Their promise was put to the test last week and the Republicans failed miserably. In fact, the Republican standard bearer for president in 2008 cast the last “no” vote that sank the Republican efforts in the senate – some loyalty toward the party from their once presidential nominee.

And when the going gets tough politically it seems that the progressive Democrats can always count on two or three moderate Republicans to side with the Democrats.

I cannot recall in recent times when a single Democrat would stand with the Republicans on a major vote. So James, I will admit that the progressives have outsmarted and outvoted the Republicans in Washington.

We have not yet finished the year and Republicans in Congress still have a chance to redeem themselves. I can remember when the first President Bush boasted in his campaign, “No new taxes!”

He broke that promise, and he did not get re-elected. If Republicans fail to keep their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, many Republican incumbents may have primary opponents in 2018. If a fundamental promise proclaimed for more than 7 years is broken, then even in Mississippi the Republican primaries could get very interesting. If you don’t believe it, just ask U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.

Doc, what an ingenious way to offer up a preemptive strike against this most obvious of criticisms – that seven years of “repeal and replace” was nothing more than a memorable rhetorical flourish. It is a catchy, but toothless, phrase.

The truth is, no one is celebrating the fact that a broken health care system could be neither dismantled or redesigned. There is no cause for celebration.

And, quite honestly, I’m becoming fed up with partisan politics. One side celebrates the other side’s losses, while the other side genuflects over the other side’s inability to get the country’s business done.

  • “Repeal and replace” typifies where both political parties, pitifully, are. They adopt catchy phrases and then pawn them off as good policy. This is political malpractice which goes all the way back to Johnson’s “Great Society.” The last political slogan that actually ended up as sound public policy was FDR’s “New Deal.”
  • America, much like myself, is getting fed up with political tribalism. Politics shouldn’t be a team sport, but it has become more about the “team” and less about what’s good for the country. Well-intentioned, good-hearted Republicans get elected to Congress with bi-partisan support, just to end up joining the “tribe,” in order to survive the next election. Strong-willed, principled Democrats get elected to affect change, only to spend the next two years being coopted by deep-pocketed lobbyists and railing against “the other side.”

I can remember when lawmakers who engaged in legislative compromise received the highest compliments. Now, it’s the best way to get kicked off the island. This devolution of party before country is shameful and destructive.

The inability to find positive, constructive fixes to the Affordable Care act, is a clear example that both parties engage in the wrong kind of compromise.

Rather than engage in compromise with the other party, lawmakers shamelessly compromise their own principles and core values just to stay on the team.

DR. ED HOLLIDAY is a Tupelo dentist who has written two successful books. Readers can contact him at ed@docholliday.org.

REV. JAMES HULL is an award-wining journalist and a political consultant. Readers can contact him at hullmultimediams@aol.com.


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