Senate Dems Welcome Repeal Delay: Now You Can Have Hearings, Mitch!

Tom Williams/CQPHO

The news that Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) unexpected surgery would force Republicans to delay a planned vote on their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act sent GOP leaders scrambling.

But Democrats, who are powerless to stop the bill unless more Republicans defect, are gleefully seizing on the opportunity the delay provides to hammer their GOP colleagues for not holding a single public hearing on the massive legislation.

“We request that you use this additional time to hold public hearings so that Senators can invite impartial experts, including patients, to testify on the policies in the bill, especially the radically conservative Cruz/Lee proposal released to the public only five days ago,” Democratic senators wrote to McConnell on Monday morning. “This will allow members to hear unfiltered and unbiased analysis of how the bill will affect their states and the health and financial security of the constituents they represent, including the impact of Medicaid cuts to vulnerable populations like children, people with disabilities, and people with pre-existing conditions.”

The letter also demands that Republicans not bring the bill to the Senate floor until receiving a complete score from the Congressional Budget Office. It further provides a list of independent health care groups Democrats say must be invited to testify about the bill’s impact on the nation’s health insurance markets, including the American Cancer Society and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Both those entities, and many, many, others, have strongly criticized the bill, saying it would increase the number of uninsured Americans and threaten protections for people with pre-existing conditions.