To the Editor:
“Lead, follow, or get out of the way” was a popular saying in the Army when I served in uniform a few decades ago. I don’t know if it’s still popular, but it’s still good advice. For eight years under George W. Bush, Republicans controlled the White House, the Congress, the Supreme Court, and a majority of governors. Yet they failed to pass or even introduce one single meaningful piece of legislation to improve our broken healthcare system.
Make no mistake about it: Our health-care system is broken. My 70-year-old friend and neighbor had a cancerous kidney removed a few years ago. Despite having retired from a good job, and having Medicare and supplemental coverage, the lifesaving surgery and care he received wiped out his savings and left him a few hundred thousand dollars in debt. Our broken healthcare system is unfair, costly, and problematic for patients, doctors, administrators — virtually everyone involved in the healthcare industry except for the insurance companies, who can and do adjust their premiums and policies to ensure they always make money, regardless.
For eight years under George W. Bush, Republicans sat on their hands and did nothing while the healthcare crisis continued to worsen. President Barack Obama made healthcare reform a top priority when he took office in 2009. Republicans fought the proposed legislation for nearly 16 months, but finally the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (disparagingly referred to as Obamacare) was signed into law. Republicans stubbornly continued their opposition all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which confirmed the constitutionality of the law on June 27. Still, Republicans such as Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul have vowed to continue to fight and somehow repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Republicans had eight years to take the lead on this critical issue, and they did nothing. Then they refused to follow President Obama when he initiated long overdue changes to our healthcare system. They did not lead; they will not follow. Republicans need to get out of the way, cease their futile opposition to what is now the law of the land, and start addressing the many other important issues they were elected to legislate.