INDIANAPOLIS – As the health care conversation shifts towards bipartisan reform efforts, Congressmen Messer and Rokita have yet to indicate whether they’re willing to abandon their hardline positions and begin working with moderates like Joe Donnelly to improve our nation’s health care system.
With Republicans’ partisan efforts to force through a health care overhaul having failed in the Senate, conversations in Washington are starting to consider bipartisan efforts to improve the health care system and shore up the individual marketplaces. It seems unlikely, however, that Congressmen Messer and Rokita are interested in joining this new push.
Both men quickly came out as staunch supporters of the bill that passed out of the House in May with their vote. That bill would have raised premiums on the average Hoosier by thousands of dollars, allowed insurers to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, and kicked 23 million Americans off their health insurance. Neither one of them supported attempts to water down their “mean” health care bill before last week’s failed Senate vote. Both men have yet to go on record with their thoughts about any bipartisan effort that would swap out their slash-and-burn approach and instead seek to improve the health care system.
A new bipartisan push, however, would be right in line with Joe’s position, who has repeatedly said that he wants to work together to improve the health care system instead of destroying it.
Joe has already began talking with moderate Republicans to find a path forward on a bill that improves the ACA, attending a meeting last week with members of both parties hosted in part by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). He also yesterday wrote a letter to Seema Verma, head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, calling on her to commit to continuing crucial subsidy payments included in the ACA. The Trump Administration has refused to make clear whether they’ll continue these payments, injecting uncertainly in the marketplaces and causing premiums for Americans to rise by as much as 20 percent.
“Hoosiers of all stripes would rather see both parties work together to improve our health care system instead of passing the unpopular bills crafted by hardline Republicans. But while Joe Donnelly is trying to move our health care system onto stronger footing, Congressmen Messer and Rokita have been silent,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Are both men so wedded to their cruel bill that they’d rather gamble with Hoosiers’ health care instead of working towards a bipartisan solution? Or will they join Joe in pushing to improve access to quality, affordable care?”