By Jonathan Easley - 12/12/13 10:29 AM EST
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on Thursday likened the political fight to implement the Affordable Care Act to the plight of Nelson Mandela, who fought against apartheid in South Africa.
Cummings attended Mandela’s memorial service in South Africa this week and said the connection occurred to him on the 20-hour flight home.
“It was an inspirational trip because I had the opportunity to reflect on the amazing changes that one individual, working with determination over a lifetime, can bring to millions of others,” Cummings said, according to prepared remarks released ahead of a House Oversight Committee hearing on "ObamaCare’s Impact on Premiums and Provider Networks."
Some Democrats have expressed frustration that House Republicans moved ahead with planned ObamaCare hearings during a week when much of Washington’s attention turned to Mandela’s passing.
Some said they were forced to choose between preparing for and attending the hearings, and traveling to South Africa for the service.
Cummings on Thursday urged his colleagues to “push for reconciliation” on ObamaCare in a way that would honor the life of Mandela.
“One of the things Nelson Mandela will always be remembered for is his push for reconciliation,” he said. “I respect the viewpoints of my colleagues on this Committee, as well as those of our witnesses, and I understand that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect.”
“In that spirit, I hope we can work together in a bipartisan way to improve the Affordable Care Act rather than continuing to fight over its very existence,” he added. “We can no longer disregard the experiences of 50 million of our fellow citizens. We can no longer ignore the pain, the frustration, and the fundamental inequality of this nation within a nation.”