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If Health Care Failure Brings Congress Together, America Wins

by Jeff Powers, published

It's certainly true that the most valuable things in life don't come easy.

That is the case with health care reform.

No question, Obamacare needs to be fixed and improved. It's failing across the country. All parties have admitted the system is collapsing on itself.

And there is no question the fractures in Congress need to be healed if any significant repeal and replace bill can be passed.

The last 48 hours in the Senate have been a painful and important reminder of just how divisive our two-party system has become. How accomplishing truly great things for the American people is all but impossible with so many senators and representatives living on the extremes, caring only about parroting their most right and left-wing party views on radio and television.

But a glimmer of hope could be on the horizon. And it took a Maverick to re-emerge from the swamp.

John McCain ran on repealing and replacing Obamacare. It was a big part of his re-election campaign. He filmed commercials saying he would do whatever he could to replace Obamacare.

So when McCain voted Friday morning against his party's repeal, it shocked and upset many in the GOP. Some have called him a Judas for turning his back on the many hours his colleagues worked on the 'Skinny' Repeal.

But as McCain's statement noted, he understands the importance of repealing and replacing Obamacare, but the 'Skinny' Repeal didn't "provide the American people the kind of health care choices they deserve."

On Tuesday before the vote, McCain spoke to his colleagues in open session. McCain directed criticism at the media:

"I hope we can rely on our humility on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other, to learn how to trust each other again, and by so doing serve the people who elected us. Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on radio, television and the internet to hell with them." - US Sen. John McCain

He also spoke about DC's desperate need to recommit to the value of governing.

"Incremental progress is critical, to compromise and to have each side criticized but also accept each other," McCain said.

"Just plain muddling through to chip away at problems and keep our enemies from doing their worse, isn't glamorous or exciting, it doesn't feel like a political triumph, but it's usually the most we can expect from our system of government. Operating in a country as diverse and quarrelsome and free as ours."

It's rare when a politician speaks with that kind of focus. It is already being hailed as one of the Arizona senator's finest moments.

After the gavel came down on the GOP's 'Skinny' Repeal, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer spoke about the need for Congress to come together.

"Blame hardly falls on one side or the other," he remarked.

Schumer called for a time of trust.

"Maybe this can be a moment where we start coming together," he said.

"Both sides will have to give. But if we can take this moment, a solemn moment, and start working this body the way it had the last decade or so, with both sides to blame for the deterioration, we will do a better job for our country, a better job for this body, a better job for ourselves."

We will see if Mitch McConnell and his caucus take the path McCain suggested and get to work on a bipartisan health care fix through the normal committee process.

Despite sounding bitter and bruised after the vote, McConnell did give Democrats an olive branch and said, "Let's listen to the ideas from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle."

If Congress comes together, and can achieve a bipartisan health care plan, something Obamacare is not, then the country will certainly be moving in the right direction.

Photo Credit: simez78 /

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