Democrats, Republicans must work together to advance health care
© Getty Images

Just as folks across America show up to work each day and join together with their co-workers to get the job done, the American people expect us, their elected representatives in Congress, to do the same. Our constituents did not send us to Washington to fight against each other at every turn; they sent us here to work together to find common ground where possible and reach compromise when necessary.

I believe my colleagues on both sides of the aisle share a fundamental core belief: that every single one of our constituents needs access to affordable, high-quality health care. I also believe the vast majority of us think we should do all we can to care for our most vulnerable neighbors, such as the homeless veteran who served his or her country honorably,  the single parent doing all he or she can to make ends meet, and the Americans living with mental or physical disabilities. We may have different ideas on how to reach these goals, but I refuse to believe we are so far divided that we cannot come together and make progress on behalf of the American people.

ADVERTISEMENT
In fact, I know we can work in a bipartisan manner because we have done it before. When small businesses in my district were impacted by a change to health reimbursement accounts, I brought Treasury Department officials out to southern Minnesota to hear from the folks directly impacted.

In response, former Rep. Charles BoustanyCharles William BoustanyTop Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns Controversial House Republican gains national attention after filming Auschwitz video Democrats, Republicans must work together to advance health care MORE (R-La.) and I teamed up to introduce the Small Business Health Care Relief Act so small businesses would have an easier time getting health insurance to their employees.

The Affordable Care Act has helped many Americans access the care they need to survive, and provided relief to many others whose premiums were skyrocketing. There are important protections that we must keep in place. That being said, there are areas we need to improve and there are folks still struggling to access affordable care. In Minnesota, many farmers, small businesses owners, and middle-class families on the individual market currently face rising premiums and unreasonably high deductibles. This is unacceptable, and we need to work together to tackle this issue head-on and without delay.

Hardworking Minnesotans and folks across the nation facing health insurance hardships simply cannot wait another year for Congress to act. They need relief now. We can work together to get them emergency tax relief in the short term, while we team up and build consensus on broader long-term fixes. We must also join together to tackle the rising, unpredictable and non-transparent nature of the costs of care and pharmaceuticals, including prescription drugs. It is long past time for Congress to put the American people’s needs over political expediency and party affiliation.

I am open to any and all proposals aimed at improving our health care system, no matter which side of the aisle they originate. However, rather than starting over from scratch, I believe the right answer for southern Minnesotans, and all Americans, is for Republicans and Democrats to join together to build upon the gains of the Affordable Care Act and adopt necessary improvements that help make health insurance more affordable for all.

I call on Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) and my Republican colleagues in Congress to welcome Democrats to the table, and I call on Democrats to accept their invitation. Together, we can accomplish what our constituents sent us to Washington to do.

Walz represents Minnesota's 1st District. 


The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.