Gov­ern­ment work­ing to­gether? What a con­cept!

The Community Connection - - OPINION -

An eight-year cam­paign to re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act got a thumbs-down from the U.S. Se­nate 10 days ago, leav­ing Amer­i­cans fear­ful for the fu­ture of health care.

The ris­ing costs and in­sta­bil­ity that ex­ists with the ACA de­mand some type of so­lu­tion: Let­ting it im­plode or fall to rhetoric about the “dis­as­ter” that its op­po­nents claim does not solve any­thing for the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

And so we cit­i­zens are left won­der­ing what’s next.

Here’s a wild idea: How about mem­bers of the U.S. Congress work to­gether, across the aisle, to solve the prob­lem? In fact, why not work to­gether to solve the many prob­lems fac­ing our great na­tion, start­ing with the gov­ern­men­tal paral­y­sis born out of our na­tional di­vi­sive­ness.

Ide­ally, Congress as a whole should be a bi­par­ti­san Prob­lem Solvers Cau­cus, but in­stead it has too of­ten func­tioned as two par­ties with bring­ing the other side down tak­ing prece­dence over work­ing to­gether. Health care re­form is the poster child for that be­hav­ior with Repub­li­cans caught up in un-do­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s sig­na­ture leg­is­la­tion rather than fo­cus­ing on the health care needs of the na­tion.

Against this back­drop, the Prob­lem Solvers Cau­cus in Congress is a pos­i­tive step, and we are pleased that this re­gion’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives are part of that move­ment.

U.S. Reps. Ryan Costello, R6th Dist., Pat Mee­han, R-7th Dist., and Lloyd Smucker, R16th Dist., are mem­bers of the cau­cus. They make up Ch­ester County’s leg­isla­tive del­e­ga­tion in Wash­ing­ton and in­clude Delaware, Mont­gomery and Berks coun­ties.

Also, U.S. Reps. Char­lie Dent, R-15th, of Al­len­town, Brian K. Fitz­patrick, R-8th, of Bucks County, and Glenn Thomp­son, R-5th, of Centre County round out the six rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Penn­syl­va­nia who are part of the cau­cus.

Dig­i­tal First Me­dia re­porter Michael Rel­la­han re­ported re­cently that the group of 44 Repub­li­cans and Democrats an­nounced “a set of prin­ci­ples to ad­vance so­lu­tions to ad­dress the desta­bi­lized in­di­vid­ual health care mar­ket. These bi­par­ti­san pro­pos­als fo­cus on ar­eas they can find broad con­sen­sus to work to­gether to sta­bi­lize the health care in­dus­try.”

“By re­set­ting the health care con­ver­sa­tion in Congress, the cau­cus mem­bers are at­tempt­ing to set the stage ‘for the kind of bi­par­ti­san so­lu­tions that Amer­i­cans have been yearn­ing for’ and ‘re­store some pre­dictabil­ity as in­sur­ance com­pa­nies make de­ci­sions about pre­mium prices in 2018,’ ac­cord­ing to the re­lease,” Rel­la­han wrote.

“Task one is to sta­bi­lize the in­sur­ance mar­ket­place this year for all Amer­i­cans,” said Costello in a state­ment. “We need to ul­ti­mately im­ple­ment sus­tain­able re­forms to im­prove our health care sys­tem, and it needs to be an­chored from the ide­o­log­i­cal cen­ter in or­der to pass both cham­bers of Congress and have the con­fi­dence of the Amer­i­can pub­lic.”

Costello, in an in­ter­view, said he would work to bring the mat­ter to the House’s En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee, of which he is a mem­ber, Rel­la­han re­ported. The dan­ger of leav­ing the ACA’s cost-shar­ing re­duc­tion (CSR) pay­ments in the hand of the Trump Ad­min­is­tra­tion, which has threat­ened to sus­pend them on a month-by­month ba­sis, or any ad­min­is­tra­tion, is un­ten­able, he said.

“You need to han­dle things on a re­spon­si­ble way that pro­tects con­stituents and the health care sys­tem as we know it,” Costello said.

“The last great hope for this coun­try is that Repub­li­cans and Democrats prove they can work to­gether,” said cau­cus Co-Chair­man U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, a New York Repub­li­can. “We’ve locked arms to con­tinue the fight for the Amer­i­can peo­ple, their fam­i­lies and their health care.

“We as a cau­cus, will con­tinue to work to­gether with bi­par­ti­san dig­nity and com­mit­ment to the Amer­i­can peo­ple, who de­serve sta­ble health care and a func­tional Congress.”

We ap­plaud this ef­fort, even as we re­gret that it’s nec­es­sary to cre­ate a prob­lem-solv­ing mech­a­nism. Prob­lem-solv­ing is what con­gres­sional rep­re­sen­ta­tives are elected to ac­com­plish. Work­ing to­gether for the good of their con­stituen­cies is what we ex­pect.

By sign­ing on to Prob­lem Solvers, the Con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion from this re­gion has proven its will­ing­ness to em­brace a cit­i­zens-first men­tal­ity rather than pol­i­tics-first.

We urge all 18 mem­bers of Congress from Penn­syl­va­nia to join.

With num­bers, there is hope for lead­er­ship that fo­cuses on so­lu­tions that unite and cre­ate a truly greater Amer­ica.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.