Time for Alexander, Corker to put politics aside and get serious on health care

(NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE) – With the Affordable Care Act surviving yet another mean-spirited attempt at repeal, it’s time for Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker to put partisan politics aside and get serious about making health care better for all Americans.

“This most recent attempt at healthcare legislation by Republicans failed because it drastically cut coverage, raised costs and eliminated protections, all just to give massive tax cut to big insurance companies and the wealthy,” Tullahoma family physician and Alliance for Healthcare Security spokesperson, Dr. Thomas Phelps said. “It failed because people don’t want to lose coverage or protections and if either of our Senators would have held a single town hall to hear from Tennesseans, instead of working solely behind closed doors, they would have understood this. It’s time to set aside greed and politics and put health care for regular people first.”

The Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is assumed to be deeply unpopular in Tennessee. But public opinion polls found that it was more popular than the alternative that died today in the Senate. In spite of that, Sens. Alexander and Corker remained neutral and praised the effort.

With the latest Republican health care bill lacking the bare minimum of votes it needed to pass, Senate leaders have indicated that will push for a straight repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Last February, Sen. Alexander said that was unacceptable: “No one is talking about repealing anything until there is a concrete practical alternative to officer Americans in its place.”

According to the Congressional Budget Office, there’s nothing practical about straight repeal. It would mean hundreds of thousands uninsured in Tennessee alone.

“Senator Mitch McConnell and Republicans couldn’t get their bill passed when it was created in secret without the input of constituents and experts,” Dr. Thomas Phelps said. “Now Senator Alexander now has a chance to lead by brining a bipartisan committee together, holding hearings and town halls to listen to those affected most and work toward bipartisan solutions.”