Editor: I must admit to being surprised, at the venomous responses to my letter on the passage of the Republican Healthcare bill. They were penned by M.B. Crenshaw of Aldie, and Dale Everett of Ashburn, and testimony to the blind, rigid partisanship and the depths to which our political discourse has lately fallen.
Crenshaw characterized my criticism of the House vote as “indicative of the myopic liberal view of this [i.e., the Affordable Care Act] scam.” First, Mr. Crenshaw is arguing facts not in evidence. In my letter, I offered no opinion or judgment of the ACA. It was not the subject of my letter. Secondly, he doesn’t even try to defend the deplorable provisions and consequences of the House bill! He’s only interested in condemning the ACA.
My criticism was solely directed to those Republican members who took a blind vote, a morally and politically irresponsible act. No elected representative of either party should cast a vote on such consequential legislation without understanding its costs and effects.
Mr. Crenshaw points to the “triple-digit increases in premium costs” he and his acquaintances have experienced recently. While his anger is certainly justifiable, it’s completely misplaced. The ACA has flaws that need to be addressed, but it does not set insurance premiums. Yet Mr. Crenshaw (and Mr. Everett) condemns the ACA for the exorbitant rate increases, without a word about the insurance companies that created the policies and set the rates in the first place.
To him, the enactment of the ACA was due to the “treacherous and deceitful representations of the Democrats and their president,” conveniently ignoring its widespread support among the consumer, healthcare, hospital and insurance industries. Nor does he acknowledge the high level of public support for the ACA (55 percent). He isn’t interested in facts. His only interest is venting his spleen and assigning blame … on anyone and anything conveniently at hand.
The argument of the second response to my letter by Dale Everett is primarily a string of assertions with little or no basis in anything other than misinformation and partisan rancor. He complains that I made “numerous derogatory comments about the bill,” as if they were baseless. They were among the findings of the analysis of the Congressional Budget Office, the accepted nonpartisan referee on proposed legislation.
His principal assertion is that “the bill is no more a guide to what is likely to come out in the final version,” i.e., despite its damaging consequences, the House bill will be fixed in the Senate. The problem? He’s wrong.
He got a small part of the process right (that the House bill goes to the Senate). As a member of the leadership staff in the U.S. Senate for several years, I was an active participant in several conference committees. Without going into the details, and for a variety of reasons, political and parliamentary, the House bill is in fact “a guide to what is likely to come out in the final version.” The Conference Report will include many of the original major provisions passed in the House bill. It is a harbinger of what is to come.
Randy Ihara, South Riding