In a June 19, 2017 press release, Sens. Len Fasano and Kevin Kelly decried the partisan nature of Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy’s recent hearings on health care. Fasano and Kelly called for a bipartisan forum that includes insurance and healthcare professionals. Appropriate as that would be, the press release itself was a highly partisan statement that undercut the call for bipartisanship.
The source waters of the Affordable Care Act were the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, as implemented by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. President Obama used Massachusetts’ successful experiment as the basis of his plan.
Sadly, the Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell’s cry to make President Obama “a one-term president” poisoned the subsequent debate. The ACA received many public hearings that resulted in some concessions to Republicans. One wonders if the Republican leadership would have supported a similar bill had a President John McCain proposed it.
I agree with Fasano and Kelly that the subsequent years were wasted. No complex plan succeeds in its first iteration. Despite the ACA’s many successes, problems emerged. The past seven years could have been spent improving the ACA. Instead, the Republican leadership chose to eliminate the ACA “root and branch” (Senator McConnell).
The lack of a Republican alternative despite seven years to develop one demonstrates an interest in merely obstructing and destroying the ACA. To lay the blame at Blumenthal’s feet is astonishing! Where was the Connecticut Republican response to the extraordinarily partisan obstructionism of the national party’s leadership? Why only now a call for bipartisanship at the state level?
If Fasano and Kelly are sincere in stimulating a bipartisan discussion, they need to end their partisan attacks. Let’s make Connecticut and national model of bipartisanship. We might begin with SB586 to protect the healthcare of women, children, and adolescents.
Larry Rizzolo, PhD, is a member of Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible, Guilford.