Endangered red state Democrats are facing a critical moment in deciding whether to vote for Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the highly accomplished nominee for Health and Human Services secretary. Price, who has represented a district on the outskirts of Atlanta since 2005 and serves as the House Budget Committee chairman, previously had a career as an orthopedic surgeon and as a successful business owner.
Liberals are looking for a reason to convince Senate Democrats to oppose Price. Marilyn Geewax, a senior business editor at National Public Radio, accused Price of being against finding a cure for cancer. The basis for the allegation was Geewax’s analysis of his body language at a State of the Union speech.
Another media “highlight” was this comically biased headline from NBC News: “Trump’s Health Secretary Pick Favors the Rich, Not the Sick, Experts Argue.” Surely, numerous experts must have weighed in to warrant something that heavy handed? Not on your life: the story was pegged to an op-ed by two liberal professors, both of whom have donated thousands of dollars to Democratic political candidates including President Obama and Hillary Clinton. That detail was (of course) absent from the article.
But nearly seven years after President Obama signed his eponymous (and disastrous) healthcare overhaul into law, Democrats have little credibility left on the issue. It also looks like party leaders have not learned from that mistake. Only days away before watching President Trump take the oath of office, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer led colleagues in an ostentatious, middle-of-the-night protest on the Senate floor to champion ObamaCare one more time.
Are Senate Democrats like Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (whose state Trump won with 56.4 percent of the vote), Montana Sen. Jon Tester (56.2 percent), North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (63.0 percent), West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (67.9 percent), and Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly (56.9% percent) going to march in lockstep with their party’s leaders in opposing Price and trying to keep ObamaCare?
It’s not just conservatives coming around to Price. He enjoys support both from the American Medical Association – which previously endorsed ObamaCare – and from the American Hospital Association.
Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, have launched an all-out smear campaign, callously misrepresenting Price’s financial disclosures to insinuate he’s done something wrong, despite providing zero evidence that’s the case. According to Schumer, it’s apparently illegal to invest in stocks, something they might want to tell their fellow Democrats about.
Despite all this, Price will ultimately be confirmed with ease thanks to former Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid’s decision to nuke the filibuster.
In coming months, red state Democrats will have many opportunities pick between left-wing interest groups or the clearly expressed wishes of the people they’re meant to represent. Examples of those opportunities include Price’s confirmation, repealing ObamaCare, and repealing related provisions of ObamaCare that may come up before the full law is repealed, such as the Independent Payments Advisory Board that some have referred to as a “death panel.”
If Democrats persist continue to support federal control over healthcare to the detriment of consumers, it will almost certainly become a campaign issues that ends with Republicans expanding their congressional majority in 2018.
But at the behest of liberal party leaders in the Senate, those vulnerable Democrats are being pressured to fight for ObamaCare at every turn. If they don’t learn to buck those leaders soon, as the saying goes, it will be their funeral.
(This article first appeared in The Hill: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-administration/317201-democrats-could-show-they-learned-from-obamacare-by)