INDIANAPOLIS – The Republican healthcare bill is already having negative repercussions for the congressmen who supported it. In his weekend column for the South Bend Tribune, Jack Colwell looks at the political impact of a bill that takes away insurance from 23 million Americans and which even the President has called “mean.” Hoosiers now face a clear choice on health care: between an unpopular Republican proposal that Congressmen Messer and Rokita now “own,” or Joe Donnelly’s earnest efforts to work with both parties to fix the still “way more popular” Affordable Care Act.
The “mean” health care bill passed by House Republicans could be a key issue in the nationally important U.S. Senate race in Indiana next year.
It will be if Sen. Joe Donnelly has anything to say about it. And Donnelly, the Democratic incumbent facing a very tough race, already is saying a lot about it, calling the plan not just mean, but disastrous.
The president did no favors for Rokita and Messer and other Republicans who voted for the bill he wanted in order to claim a political victory and celebrate. In conceding now that the “great plan” really is “mean,” Trump acknowledges what critics said about it from the start.
Critics, including doctors, hospitals, the AARP, health insurance providers and consumer groups, said it was mean in curtailing health care, especially for underprivileged children, the elderly and those unfortunately with pre-existing conditions and knocking 23 million Americans off health insurance.
Already, the Indiana Democratic Party sends out statements with titles such as: “President Trump: Congressmen Messer, Rokita supported ‘mean’ health care bill.”
It also refers to “Congressmen Messer’s and Rokita’s bill.” Like saying: You vote for it, you own it.
Donnelly has denounced the House bill as repealing the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. Polls show that Obamacare has become more popular, way more popular than that House health care bill.
Donnelly contends that the Trump administration is sabotaging Obamacare, trying to destroy it “by creating instability and chaos” that drives out insurance providers and discourages enrollment in successful plans such as Indiana’s HIP 2.0.
Fix it, Donnelly says: “If your house needs repairs, you don’t set the house on fire. You work to fix the issues.”