AJC Political Insider: David Scott: Rip up GOP health plan, let bipartisan panel start over
By Tamar Hallerman
WASHINGTON — On many issues, U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta, fashions himself as a man in the middle on Capitol Hill, ready and willing to use his moderate credentials to broker agreements across the aisle. The question has always been whether there were any Republicans to meet him halfway.
When it comes to the GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill, Scott, like virtually every Democrat, isn’t pleased. He thinks President Barack Obama’s signature policy achievement has largely done its job.
Republicans are “painting a very warped, bad picture of the Affordable Care Act in order to use this issue as a political punching bag, and the American people deserve better,” Scott told WABE’s Denis O’Hayer this morning. “This is their health care.”
He’s calling on GOP leaders to rip up the American Health Care Act and start over. He thinks party leaders should instead appoint a bipartisan committee to tackle rising premium costs and other major issues in the health care system.
“We’ve got to find a way here to get Democrats and Republicans to come together,” he said, “but it cannot come together under this bill. This bill has to be removed from consideration.”
Certain Republicans share Scott’s view that the current GOP bill should be abandoned. U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., called for just that on Twitter earlier Thursday:
✔@TomCottonAR House health-care bill can't pass Senate w/o major changes. To my friends in House: pause, start over. Get it right, don't get it fast.
But most Republicans aren’t exactly rushing to negotiate with Democrats at this stage, since they can in theory pass so-called “phase one” of the health care overhaul without them. Odds are Scott’s offer will likely fall on deaf ears.
Most Democrats aren’t exactly scrambling to help Republicans out either. Leaders have indicated that it’s the GOP’s responsibility to replace the Affordable Care Act if they want to scrap it in the first place.
“For years Republicans have been baying at the moon, complaining about the Affordable Care Act and now they have their chance to put something forward – which they do in the dark of night, without (a Congressional Budget Office) score, without having any idea what the consequences are of their actions,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters yesterday.
Scott said in order to get him on board Republicans should not eliminate Obamacare’s taxes on the wealthy, which help pay for other components of the law.
“Somebody’s got to pay for this and people have to understand that,” he said. Scott said the GOP should also be willing to overhaul liability insurance for doctors, which he said is a major barrier for young people not going into medicine in the first place.
Listen to O’Hayer’s full interview with Scott here.