In college, I had a friend who was whip-smart. She was on scholarship, living in the honors dorm, the works. Her friends all knew she had a bright future, and we were right. She graduated from a big-name law school and went on to a successful career as a senior corporate attorney.
But back in school, if you were out with my friend and a cute guy walked in the room, you would think her IQ had suddenly dropped 20 points. She acted like a completely different person — a much less intelligent person. No doubt she had her reasons. Like I said, she was smart, and clearly for her this was an effective tactic to get what she was after. But it was still a depressing thing to watch in action.
I get that same sinking feeling when I see Rep. Martha McSally respond to questions about where she stands on the new Republican health care bill. McSally is a smart woman. She has two master’s degrees, one from Harvard. But suddenly, it’s just all too much for her. 123 pages! She couldn’t possibly have gotten all the way through it yet. There’s a picture of her about to read the bill with two assistants at the ready; apparently there’s just no way she could decipher the meaning of all those big words by her lonesome.
The capper for me was the release of a statement recently about how “encouraged” she is that the new bill keeps in place certain protections, listing the coverage of those with pre-existing conditions, the prohibition on lifetime caps, and the ability of young people to stay on their parents’ plans as “provisions she fought for.”
But here’s the thing. The Republicans are using the budget reconciliation process to try to get this bill passed, since they know it can’t get 60 votes in the Senate (a budget reconciliation just needs 51 votes). That means the bill can only deal with budgetary issues. The provisions McSally listed do not meet that criteria, so there was never any chance the Republicans were going to come after them in this bill.
Are we all supposed to pretend now that Rep. McSally just has no idea how the legislative process works? Did I mention her Harvard degree was from the John F. Kennedy School of Government?
Just as with my friend from college, I’m sure McSally has her reasons for playing these games. But there are life-or-death issues at stake. Our district’s uninsured rate dropped 42.5 percent after the ACA was passed, and 39,700 of her constituents gained health care coverage through the Medicaid expansion. All of that progress is at risk now. It’s time for McSally to drop the act, and finally take a stand to protect the people she has sworn to represent.