The Post editorial: Colorado Sen. Cory Gard­ner voted in fa­vor of two bad bills to re­peal Oba­macare.

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST -

U.S. Sen. Cory Gard­ner, RColo., voted in fa­vor of two bad bills to re­peal Oba­macare. We hoped he would show more lead­er­ship.

Thank­fully, the Bet­ter Care Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Act — the amended Se­nate ver­sion of re­peal­ing and re­plac­ing Oba­macare — failed on Tues­day night. Fifty-seven se­na­tors had the good sense to vote against what would have amounted to a rolling back of hefty Oba­macare taxes while slash­ing fund­ing for Med­i­caid with­out of­fer­ing guid­ance to states on how to han­dle the cuts.

And then, on Wed­nes­day, a plan to re­peal Oba­macare with a twoyear de­lay for Repub­li­cans to pro­vide a re­place­ment failed, with 55 se­na­tors vot­ing “no.” Gard­ner voted “yes.”

Such a vote is reck­less in­deed, as who can trust that our grid­lock­prone Congress is up to the task of re­plac­ing Oba­macare with rea­son­able re­form? These votes lead us to ques­tion Gard­ner’s abil­ity to judge what is best for Colorado over what is best for his pri­mary elec­tion prospects.

It’s true these bills would have failed with or with­out Gard­ner’s sup­port, but nei­ther met our test for the type of mean­ing­ful, mea­sured re­form of Oba­macare we hoped to see from Repub­li­cans this year.

In­stead, Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch Mc­Connell is pre­sent­ing a se­ries of con­fus­ing amend­ments that seem de­signed to give the GOP po­lit­i­cal cover with­out fix­ing Amer­ica’s health in­sur­ance sys­tem.

The BCRA was a bad bill, one that was far less about re­peal­ing un­pop­u­lar pro­vi­sions like the in­di­vid­ual man­date than it was about cut­ting tra­di­tional Med­i­caid spend­ing (re­form that is needed but doesn’t re­ally have any­thing to do with Oba­macare).

Gard­ner was one of 43 Repub­li­cans ex­press­ing sup­port for the BCRA in a vote Tues­day. Tech­ni­cally the vote was a pro­ce­dural one to al­low the BCRA to pass un­der rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with just 51 votes be­cause the amended ver­sion hadn’t yet been scored by the Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice.

We were en­cour­aged by Gard­ner’s early op­po­si­tion to pro­posed cuts to Med­i­caid.

Gard­ner had been work­ing on amend­ments that, if passed, would have made the BCRA less bad. Pro­pos­als in­cluded help­ing low in­come in­di­vid­u­als move to the pri­vate mar­ket with bil­lions in fed­eral sub­si­dies and carv­ing out vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions for in­creased Med­i­caid fund­ing.

But those amend­ments were in ques­tion, and cling­ing to hope for their pas­sage strikes us as reck­less again, given es­ti­mates that tens of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans would lose cov­er­age.

Gard­ner wasn’t alone in cast­ing such a ques­tion­able vote on the BCRA. Sen. John McCain, who mo­ments be­fore had made an in­spir­ing speech against the BCRA — call­ing it a “shell of a bill” and pledg­ing to vote against it — also voted to move it for­ward. McCain later voted against re­peal with de­layed re­place­ment.

But McCain was right about one thing.

“The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and con­gres­sional Democrats shouldn’t have forced through Congress with­out any op­po­si­tion sup­port a so­cial and eco­nomic change as mas­sive as Oba­macare. And we shouldn’t do the same with ours,” McCain said in a speech against par­ti­san­ship. “Why don’t we try the old way of leg­is­lat­ing in the Se­nate, the way our rules and cus­toms en­cour­age us to act. If this process ends in fail­ure, which seems likely, then let’s re­turn to reg­u­lar or­der.”

Reg­u­lar or­der would in­volve craft­ing a bi­par­ti­san bill that could win 60 votes, amend­ing and chang­ing it through com­mit­tee markups and then vot­ing on the floor to save Amer­i­cans from the fail­ings of Oba­macare.

The mem­bers of The Den­ver Post’s editorial board are Wil­liam Dean Sin­gle­ton, chair­man; Mac Tully, CEO and pub­lisher; Chuck Plun­kett, edi­tor of the editorial pages; Me­gan Schrader, editorial writer; and Co­hen Peart, opin­ion edi­tor.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.