Jenna Lee was talking to Rep Peter Welch (D-VT) about Obamacare today.
Lee: So you’re proposing (if I could just jump in here) you’re proposing to provide an up and down vote on some of the key provisions in the law, a few of them that you’ve already mentioned [ed: pre-existing conditions, child in entry level job right out of high school] and you feel that that way it would be a good way, it seems almost to edit, you can go piece by piece through the law. Talk to us a little about that, your idea, and reaction so far from both sides of the aisle on that.
Welch: The Republicans said they’re gonna have open which would give us these up and down votes but they’re not gonna do it on health care and that’s unfortunate because I actually do think editing it is what the American people want. You know, if you ask people, ‘should you be able to get insurance if you have a pre-existing condition?’ they say, ‘yes’, so why not let us vote yes or no on all of these independent provisions some of which are very popular and supported, others of which may need some more work. And my position is that my constituents are entitled to know where I stand on each of these provisions and the point of an up or down vote is that I’m on record and then people can decide two years from now whether they want me to return or whether they want to send me packing.
Lee: So as of when…
Welch: [interrupting] It’s about accountability.
Lee: I see. the latest information I have is just from about a day ago as far as how many members sign on because that could happen at any time. It looks like it’s only Democratic members. Any Republicans sign on with your proposal?
Welch: No, the Republicans are really united in this repeal, so it’s repeal and erase everything. And you know that’s a major decision that they made. This was a great campaign issue for them and as I said they beat us up. But we’re not campaigning now. There’s the responsibility of government. And the question that any of us who have been elected has to ask is what are the impacts of our legislation on the people that we represent? And taking away these insurance reforms is unnecessary and very unwise.
Lee: A quick final question, I only have about 30 seconds here, but does it feel like there’s a change beyond just the repeal of healthcare law, does it feel like there’s a change in the dynamic between the two parties and that the two parties can work together on this issue and others?
Welch: Well, it remains to be seen. I’m hopeful because I actually think a lot of folks who – everybody who got elected – comes here with the same goals and aspirations. And this partisan line is getting in the way. We saw in the Lame Duck session a lot of progress being made on a bipartisan basis and if America is going to start addressing its problems we have to work together in order to do that.
Lee: Congressman Welch, a pleasure to have you as always and we look forward to talking to you again sir.
Welch: Thank you.
I did this transcription because of a couple things I heard Mr. Welch say. The first thing that drew my attention was his statement about people liking the pre-existing condition provision. He said, “You know, if you ask people, ‘should you be able to get insurance if you have a pre-existing condition?’ they say, ‘yes’, so why not let us vote yes or no on all of these independent provisions some of which are very popular and supported, others of which may need some more work.”
If you ask people if they’d like to be able to get car insurance after their car is in an accident or if they’d like to get renter’s or homeowner’s insurance after their place is broken into or burns down they’d say yes too.
Ask people if they’d essentially like something for nothing and they’ll say yes.
Years ago I was in the position of having a child with pre-existing conditions and in need of insurance. This was right about the time that a law was passed so that if you had a pre-existing condition and, say, changed jobs, as long as you were covered by the prior insurance company for that condition, the new insurance company would cover you as well. Up until that time, my daughter would not be covered for her condition for one year under the policy the rest of the family was on. After that year she’d be covered completely. Yes, costs for that one year can be high depending on the condition, but it’s not forever. It’s not as though the person can never be insured.
The second part that jumped out was when Rep. Welch said about repealing Obamacare:
This was a great campaign issue for them and as I said they beat us up. But we’re not campaigning now.
“But we’re not campaigning now”… Does that mean that he believes that people should campaign on what gets them elected and then fuggedaboudit? Kind of sounds like it, but then his next sentences also caught my attention.
There’s the responsibility of government. And the question that any of us who have been elected has to ask is what are the impacts of our legislation on the people that we represent?
Did he ask the question before they voted on a bill that no one had read, that Nancy Pelosi said had to be passed before anyone could find out what was in it?