Where Are the Lawmakers?

05/05/2017 04:21 pm ET

Usually, when a person starts a job, they have to produce whatever their deliverable is almost immediately – teach students; arrest criminals; build cars; mow lawns. Our lawmakers, the members we elect to the House and Senate, are charged with writing laws. Where are the laws? Indeed, where are the lawmakers? Oh, right; on hiatus.

Today, the GOP pushed a devastating “healthcare” bill through the House. There was no meaningful debate. No long hours in committee figuring out the costs and benefits. No external oversight suggesting how many millions will lose their insurance outright, be limited by pre-existing conditions, or continue to lose their homes because of spending caps or companies, states, and insurance providers being able to opt out of paying for critical services. Rape, receiving mental health counseling, and C-sections could now all be considered pre-existing conditions. The American Medical Association immediately condemned the legislation.

The President promised more access to better quality care for more Americans during his campaign. While he may not “stand by anything,” we must hold him and the Congress accountable. It is time to deliver on that promise – and find a way to improve the system that supports us all, the ill as well as the healthy.

The left points fingers. The right points fingers back. The President calls for a government shutdown.

If you didn’t do anything meaning for three months at your job, you’d find yourself unemployed. To Congress, “Do your job. Improve upon the Affordable Care Act or leave it alone.” Ours is not a parliamentary system in which the majority pushes through policies while the minority howls. Ours is a system that is meant to bring together those who disagree to create compromise. That’s part of what “checks and balances” is all about. As Jimmy Kimmel said so passionately, “There are no teams.” That might sound ironic or naïve, but it’s also true. I’m on “Team USA” no matter who has control of the Congress.

Democrats, stop complaining and write your own bill to debate in the Senate. Propose it with moderate Republicans. Have a vibrant debate. America isn’t a mythical place where fairies come in the night and write bills for you. Put pen to paper and show us what you’ve got. Don’t give up before you try, even if you think your proposal won’t pass. We haven’t gotten what we’ve needed from the right. If you’ve got the goods, deliver them. Ask the governors what they need; they will have to administer the system at the state level and they know the specific needs of their constituencies. Talk to the physicians’, pharmacists’ and hospital associations. Link in previous legislation, particularly for addiction treatment. Then consider all the options, work out the bugs, and give us a proposal.

The time for obstructionism is at an end. Republican and Democrat, your job is not only to “save” us from ill-conceived legislation, but also to create a system that allows us to be our healthiest selves at a price we can afford. It’s good for business. It’s good for families. It’s good for America.

We need the lawmakers to be in DC, doing their jobs.

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