Time for bipartisanship

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is using the threat of having to negotiate with Democrats as leverage with his caucus to get them to pass the Republican health care bill he crafted over the past month or so.

Our view is that if Democrats had reached across the aisle and allowed Republican input into the drafting of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, we would not be witnessing the debacle in Congress today. If you will remember, ACA (commonly called Obamacare) passed both houses of Congress without a single Republican vote — and without any GOP ideas in the bill.

It seems that McConnell is repeating that mistake. Obamacare is far from perfect, but according to three polls we saw Wednesday, the new GOP plan is backed by less than 20 percent of the American public.

We understand that any attempt to reach across the aisle will initially be met by a lot of public posturing. But there are moderates in both parties who want to preserve the best elements of Obamacare (mostly Medicaid expansion) while shoring up its weakest points (choices of policies diminishing in many states and skyrocketing premiums).

Many Americans are afraid of the scoring by the Congressional Budget Office that predicted up to 22 million Americans would lose health insurance over the next decade under the GOP plan now before the Senate. The CBO said older Americans who are right below the age-65 threshold for Medicare eligibility would see much higher premiums, as would those with pre-existing conditions.

We’d like to see some serious thinking from members of both parties to reach a consensus on how best to provide health coverage to the greatest number of citizens at the most affordable cost.

Most Americans want our representatives to work together for the common good. It is time to put rabid partisanship aside and work together for a healthy country.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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