In case you missed it this morning, there was a very significant development in the national healthcare debate when North Carolina congressman Patrick McHenry — as staunch right-winger and the chief deputy majority whip for House Republicans — conceded the value of a key component of Obamacare (and even mentioned his own family’s experience in justifying his position). This is from an article at the site Talking Points Memo:
But now that Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the White House, this is proving easier said than done. Not only can the GOP conference not agree on what kind of system should replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), some are beginning to rise to the defense of the laws’ core protections.
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), the chief deputy majority whip in the House, told reporters Wednesday that a new proposal that would weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions is “a bridge too far for our members.”
McHenry, citing his own past medical history and that of his family, is now arguing against the weakening of certain Obamacare regulations, which he called “really important protections.”
“I was once in the individual market, for a period of time in my 20s, and my family’s medical history is really bad,” he said. “So my understanding of the impact of insurance regulations is real. I believe I’m a conservative, but I remember the really bad practices in the insurance marketplace prior to the ACA passing.”…
“When you talk about guaranteed issue, medical underwriting and community rating, those things in tandem work as no discrimination against pre-existing conditions—which a large number of people have pledged to not undo,” McHenry explained. “That becomes a real challenge.”
Good for McHenry. While there are a lot of criticisms that can legitimately be lobbed at the congressman for such a late conversion, the important thing is that he has seen the light. Let’s hope he keeps opening his mind and heart to such truths going forward.