GOP women shut down repeal-only scheme: 'I did not come to Washington to hurt people'


As the Republicans' health care repeal plan flounders in the Senate, and leadership floats the idea of repealing Obamacare with no replacement, some of the women on their side of the aisle are ready to shut that whole thing down.

Republicans thought nothing of drafting their health care repeal plan with zero input from women, including those in their own party.

Now those women are having their say, and it's a simple one: "No."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been frantically struggling to find a way to force through some kind of attack on health care. After coming to terms with the fact that he did not have enough votes to pass the repeal plan, he instead decided to try a strategy of "repeal now, replace later" — "later" meaning roughly two years from now.

But that scheme is not one with which women in his party will go along.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has already been on record as opposing the Obamacare repeal plan, particularly the bill's harsh cuts to Medicaid.  And she has been joined by Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

Murkowski was clear about the pitfalls of the repeal-only strategy, saying, "It just creates more chaos and confusion."

REPORTER: ... on this repeal and then replace?

MURKOWSKI: Uh, I'm not there.

REPORTER: Not there?


REPORTER: You would vote against the motion to proceed?

MURKOWSKI: I said in January we should not repeal without a replacement, and just an indefinite hold on this just creates more chaos and confusion.

And Capito minced no words in her statement on the repeal-only concept, declaring, "I did not come to Washington to hurt people."

If only her male colleagues could see their duty as representatives of the people in a similar light. Instead, they seem dead-set on hurting as many people as they can, by whatever circuitous route they have to take.

And of course, McConnell and his ideological brethren are being bolstered by the ostensible heads of their party.

Donald Trump, who campaigned relentlessly on repealing and replacing Obamacare, has easily let go of the second part of that plan.

Someone ought to tell Trump that part of being president is, in fact, "owning it" when your own party decides to tear down a crucial element of the fabric of our society.

Mike Pence also supports shunting replacement off to a murky future date. "The Senate should vote to repeal now and replace later or return to the legislation carefully created in the House and the Senate. But either way, inaction is not an option," Pence said.

"Congress needs to step up, Congress needs to do their job and Congress needs to do their job now," he added.

Again, it appears that someone in the executive branch is sorely mistaken about what it means for the government to "do their job."

The job of the government — of the president, vice president, and Congress — is to serve the people, to protect and provide for them, and to pass laws that improve lives.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with literally nothing would harm millions of lives.

McConnell, Trump, and Pence may not care about that. But thankfully, the women in their party who were not invited to the drafting sessions do care, and they're putting that concern, and the country, over party.