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Friday, August 04, 2017

West Virginia opinion echo - support for health care vote

Although Donald Trump staged a made for TV reality show "beer  hall" style  rally in West Virginia on Thursday Aug 3, (no doubt he needed a boost in his self esteem), the newspaper Charleston Gazette Mail is giving a vote of confidence to the state's two Democratic senators: Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Shelley Moore Capito,  for standing up for health care. 

Gazette editorial: Cheers for unsung health care vote heroes

Senator Joe Manchin D-WVa

During the vote to repeal health care for millions of Americans, throw large sections of the health industry into chaos and drive up prices for the remaining Americans and businesses who buy health insurance, there was an audible gasp in the chamber when Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, voted no.
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Senator Shelley Moore Capito D-WVa

McCain is a hero, many times over, no question. But as The Washington Post’s Philip Bump suggestedshortly after the vote, let’s save some praise for other senators who constituted the narrow majority.

“In other words, those 50 people helped McCain be the political winner,” Bump wrote. He cites seven in particular:

Five Democrats from states that vote Republican. First among those is West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin.

Manchin, who as governor and as a state legislator, learned the importance of a humane and economical program such as Medicaid. He knows how cruel and financially shortsighted it would be take health coverage from the people he was elected to serve.

  • Manchin never wavered in his opposition to dangerous repeal proposals. 
He was in good company with Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Jon Tester of Montana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

  • Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, also never wavered. She opposed the motion to proceed.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, also held steady, 
In fact, Murkowski voted against both the bill and earlier procedural vote despite pressure from the administration. Bump suggests she got a call from the interior secretary reminding her of projects important to her state.

“In a 51-49 vote, every vote is the deciding vote, even the ones that were quietly there all along,” Bump wrote.

It’s important to remember what this vote was. It was a secret, who-knows-what bill contrived so Republicans who ran on a promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act they have vilified for years could give the impression of doing so. It is about politically saving face, not serving Americans or plotting sound economic policy. The so-called “skinny repeal” had potential to do plenty of damage, pulling at threads of the system without solving old problems and creating new ones.

All the senators who rejected this ill-conceived attack on people’s health and their economy deserve praise from their constituents.

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