ICYMI: “Congress needs to start working for the people”

“Here on the Seacoast we are honored to have a true bipartisan champion in Maine Sen. Susan Collins."

“Congress needs to start working for the people”
Seacoast Online | Editorial Board

“The majority of congressional Republicans and Democrats continue to view politics as a zero sum game. Every battle needs to have a winner and a loser and efforts to achieve consensus and compromise are viewed as signs of weakness.

“It is no wonder both the House and Senate approval ratings remain near historic lows.

“The American people are not fools and they see that whatever it is that Congress does when it is in session, it is certainly not working to improve the lives of ordinary citizens.

“With the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in desperate need of improvements and the failure of a replacement health care bill proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump, we think it’s time to resurrect the quaint notion of our elected federal officials working together to solve problems rather than devoting all their time and talents trying to humiliate each other.

“The only way we can get Congress to stop its petty infighting is to let our senators and congressmen know that we’re sick of the hyper-partisan bickering and support candidates who show a willingness to work with their colleagues, regardless of party affiliation. We don’t know which political party ‘wins’ if the nation’s health care system collapses, but we do know the American people will be the ones who lose.

“Here on the Seacoast we are honored to have a true bipartisan champion in Maine Sen. Susan Collins.

“On issue after issue Collins puts the people she represents ahead of party ideology. Her latest effort is the Cassidy-Collins Patient Freedom Act, which attempts to improve the existing health care system while incentivizing those states that want to move in a new direction.

“Collins’ co-sponsor, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, is a former physician who spent years on the front lines of health care and he has seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

“The Patient Freedom Act offers states three options. They can keep the system they have in place under the Affordable Care Act, they can design their own system without federal assistance or they can receive federal funding but determine their own insurance regulations, as long as they keep key consumer protections including dependent coverage through age 26 and prohibiting denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions.

“‘The Patient Freedom Act is built on the premise that giving people more choices is superior to the ‘one-size fits all’ approach that defined Obamacare,’ Collins said when introducing the legislation in the Senate Jan. 23. ‘We recognize that what works best for the people of Maine or New Hampshire might not be right for the people of Louisiana or California. Our bill respects these differences by giving states three options to choose the path that works best for their citizens.’

“Collins and Cassidy acknowledge up front that the provisions of their bill are intended as a starting point to get a bipartisan discussion going.

“Forty-four Senate Democrats, including New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, sent President Trump a letter this week suggesting a willingness to work with the administration “on policies that would improve the stability of the individual insurance market.” But in truth, the tone of the letter is more of an accusation than the extending of an olive branch.

“We understand there are hard feelings on both sides of the aisle and that “the base” of each party will howl at any sign of compromise. But we truly believe the majority of American citizens are in the political center and that they’ll reward politicians like Sen. Collins, who extend themselves in an effort to address serious issues like improving the American health care system.”

Click HERE to read the editorial online.