Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said healthcare reform could be achieved if Republicans would work with members of the other party. Recent events have shown one party alone cannot get things changed. I have lived among Democrats for a long time and can give our elected officials some pointers for working with those people.
The first thing Democrats will look at — their No. 1 concern — will be how many Americans will be included in any plan to provide affordable effective insurance. How many will be excluded? Will any lose coverage? Democrats are concerned about their fellow citizens. They are just funny that way.
Democrats will want to be part of the actual process of drafting a bill; discussing legislation at a White House luncheon where Democrats were not invited did not engender cooperation. Democrats enjoy a free meal, too.
In any negotiation, expect Democrats to place a lower priority on corporate profits. Their standard line is they are putting people’s lives ahead of corporate greed. I don’t understand it either. I’m just reporting how they think.
Protections for consumers will be really important to them. They really love coverage for pre-existing conditions, the prohibition of annual and lifetime limits, mandatory inclusion of essential benefits, and rules against rescission (canceling insurance when the policyholder gets sick). Republicans could get minority party votes if these were included in a bill.
Here is a big one our representatives could try: The ACA (Obamacare) did not dictate what insurance companies could charge for policies. It did not dictate prices the doctors, hospitals, ambulance companies and drug manufacturers can charge for their products and services. Democrats would be really impressed if our Republican leaders — Rep. Marshall, Sen. Moran, Sen. Roberts — could devise a way to keep these costs from going up and up and up.
Remember, Democrats are Americans, too. They are not evil, they are just different. Let’s work with them — for a change.