CMR: "I take offense!"
On Wednesday, September 17 at the Greater Spokane, Inc. debate at the Fox Theater in Spokane McMorris Rodgers vehemently took offense over pre-existing conditions:
I take offense to anyone who would suggest that I would ever vote against protecting someone with pre-existing conditions. (KXLY video, starting at 01:28)
She said the same thing the next day at the Rotary 21 debate with the same tone of umbrage. Will she use the same line in the debate today in Walla Walla?
"Taking offense" is a rhetorical device. She shifts away from denying what she did to "I'm Cathy McMorris Rodgers. I have a son with Down Syndrome. You are low life to even think I could do such a thing!"
McMorris Rodgers' declaration of "offense" should ring hollow to anyone paying attention. It is not complicated. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act has a been a shining goal of Republican/Libertarian legislators, word-meisters, right wing talk show hosts, and Fox News ever since the ACA became law in 2010. Attacking the ACA has kept the Republicans very busy passing repeals (without replacement) and filing lawsuits to chip away at every part of the ACA for the last eight years, never offering an alternative apart beyond the miserable status quo ante.
McMorris Rodgers and nearly every Republican in the House who has been in office has voted nine times to flat out repeal the Affordable Care Act--the whole thing--pre-existing conditions clause and all.
It is far easier to tear down than to build. Where was McMorris Rodgers' defense of her son Cole when she cast those nine votes for flat out repeal? Where was the carefully constructed legislative replacement that would have defended her son's access to affordable health insurance? Was a replacement going to pop out of thin air?
The time for McMorris Rodgers to "take offense" was at the short-sightedness of her Republican colleagues, the Raul Labradors, the Jason Chaffetzes (both of whom have abandoned their House seats). That was the time when she should have been "working for bipartisan solutions" (another hollow phrase she often uses).
When the Electoral College handed McMorris Rodgers and her Republican/Libertarian colleagues a willing president in 2016 they suddenly realized their votes might actually matter beyond obstructionism. "Oh my! We actually need to craft something!" They hurriedly cobbled together the American Health Care Act, the bill to which John McCain, recognizing the travesty it was, famously gave the thumbs down in the Senate. Much has been written dissecting the AHCA, noting that, indeed, it does not broadly protect people with pre-existing conditions like Cole Rodgers from being excluded or charged ridiculous premiums in many instances. But one doesn't need to dive into the weedy details to see McMorris Rodgers' "taking offense" is a diversion to her claimed sincerity, a diversion away from the truth of her voting record.
Every one of McMorris Rodgers' nine votes for repeal of the ACA was a vote against people with pre-existing conditions. Every vote was taken without a replacement. Every repeal bill she voted for would have taken us back to the time people with pre-existing conditions either went bankrupt or went without. And now she is "offended????"
Vote her out.
Keep to the high ground,
P.P.S. McMorris Rodgers' devotion to Republican/Libertarian ideology blinds her to the plight of ordinary people. She votes to repeal the ACA without replacement nine times while confident her upper middle class bubble will protect Cole from losing access to health insurance. She cannot conceive of not having the money to pay every premium on time. For McMorris Rodgers, if you miss paying your premium for two months it must be evidence you are trying to game the system, not that you've legitimately fallen on hard economic times. For her it is alright to vote for a bill that offers state waivers allowing an insurance company to refuse or charge more to a person who misses two monthly premiums, regardless of hardship. It is a prevalent Republican and Evangelical Christian attitude: The nuts I saved up for the winter are evidence of my worth. If, for whatever reason, you didn't save up enough nuts that is evidence of your profligacy. Jason Chaffetz, former Representative from Utah, guest and darling of the local Spokane Republican Party was most eloquent on this point with his statement (paraphrased), "If only people didn't have to have that new iPhone they could afford health insurance."