Distinguished pols of the week

The Associated Press reported recently: “In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, seven governors, including three moderate Republicans, argue that ‘true and lasting reforms are best approached by finding common ground in a bipartisan fashion.’ The governors implore the leaders to focus on stabilizing the individual insurance markets, give states flexibility and ensure affordable cover.”

The Republican signatories — Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker — took strong exception to a secretive process championed by fellow Republicans that threatens to rollback Medicaid and lower the number of insured Americans. “It calls into question coverage for the vulnerable and fails to provide the necessary resources to ensure that no one is left out, while shifting significant costs to the states,” the governors wrote. In joining with four Democratic colleagues — Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Steve Bullock of Montana, John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado and John Bel Edwards of Louisiana — they demonstrated that health care need not be a one-party exercise that runs roughshod over political opponents.

Republican governors, unlike House Republicans, have to administer vital health-care programs back home. They know the GOP plan is a joke — or as the president said, “mean.” Instead, they urge Congress be guided by four principles: Improve affordability (“Insurance reforms should be done in a manner that is consistent with sound and sustainable cost control practices”); market stability (“Americans without access to employer-sponsored coverage or government plans need to have access to a healthy, stable and competitive market of insurers from which to choose”); state flexibility that nevertheless follows “standards that protect the most vulnerable”; states should have appropriate flexibility to implement reforms in a manner that is responsive to local and regional market conditions; and improve the regulatory environment (which would include “appropriate standards to protect consumers while limiting duplicative or burdensome regulations and providing relief to small business owners and individuals”).

The governors don’t set out their own plan, but they are right to call foul on both the process and substance of GOP efforts to date. If you are looking for sane, practical Republicans who would lead the party and the country in a different direction than President Trump, you could do a lot worse than following these three.

For speaking out, declaring the emperor has no clothes and, in the case of the three Republicans, reminding their own party that the point of health care is to cover more people, not to give tax cuts to the very richest Americans, we can say, well done governors.

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By Jennifer Rubin

The Washington Post, June 18

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.