Warning: Naiveté will be on display here.
This “letter” is directed primarily at U.S. Senators McCain, Collins and Murkowski although there are a few others who should be paying close attention to the implications for their states, and their constituents, of the Graham-Cassidy legislation that would replace the Affordable Care Act with a temporary set of block grants and the individual discretion to limit covered services, including pre-existing conditions and many basic regular services now covered by the ACA.
For you three Senators in particular, you have arrived yet again at one of those moments when history is going to judge you. It will not judge you for all the other things you may have accomplished, or even for your other failures. No, history is going to judge you for the action you are preparing to take – to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on Graham-Cassidy.
Senator McCain, all of your well-known heroism and sacrifice will be dashed into dust if you vote to take away meaningful and affordable health insurance from the more than 32 million people now estimated to be impacted by Graham-Cassidy. You will be remembered instead for this one vote. Your choice – still hero or goat.
The same for the two female Senators from Maine and Alaska. You have come a long way, accomplished much for women in politics, served as an example of positive achievement for young women. I say that even though I disagree with much of your Republican politics. You too must face the judgment of history, and that of your constituents when they realize that you have, if you vote ‘yes,’ stripped them of the fair opportunity to secure health insurance for themselves and their children.
There is no escaping this crossroads for each of you. The President and the leadership of your party in Congress are so determined to remove the Affordable Care Act that they will sacrifice themselves and you as well on the ideological altar of state empowerment. Just look at the state-by-state consequences of Graham-Cassidy. Center for American Progress at http://ampr.gs/2fbzykY; Commonwealth Fund at http://bit.ly/2hhZpIE; The Atlantic at http://theatln.tc/2hjTsLw.
The Congressional Budget Office final score for Graham-Cassidy will likely not be ready by the time the vote, with no meaningful hearings or formal input process, occurs. Why the rush? It’s solely so that the Republicans can pass the bill with a bare majority of one under the “50 votes wins” rule that expires September 30. You thus can go along to get along, or you can do something else.
You are at the point of Robert Frost’s famous poem, the one that ends with
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Can you truthfully say that, in your considered judgment and based on your experience with state and federal government and after a careful evaluation of the impacts, that Graham-Cassidy is good for the American people, a substantial majority of who favor retention of an improved Affordable Care Act approach? Will you be able to explain your vote to the parents of a disabled child who is denied health care because the family can no longer afford the costs? Is it clear to you, beyond reasonable doubt, that Graham-Cassidy is the best way to address the health insurance problem that plagues this country and which many other civilized nations seem to have solved without draconian denials of medical care to their citizens?
Time is short. Why don’t you just bring this insane charade to a close right now, by telling the Congressional leadership and the President that “the answer is ‘NO,’ I will not lend my name, my reputation and my honor to this disgraceful legislation that will harm tens of millions of Americans”? Take the road less traveled. The only honorable thing to do.