Alaska’s Murkowski is problematic for the GOP-held Senate on ObamaCare repeal

U.S. Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiKaine to force Senate to hold rare Saturday session amid shutdown Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding Senators look for possible way to end shutdown MORE (R-Alaska) is an overt problem for passing sound, governmental policy for her fellow colleagues in the Senate GOP caucus.

With all due respect to the good senator, Murkowski doesn’t resemble a Republican lawmaker working for smaller government and pro-liberty solutions for her constituents. 

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I contend that Sen. Murkowski has shown great support for the protection of state’s rights on the issue of legal marijuana, for example. However well intentioned, Murkowski’s stomping became a tad pointless as Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Health Care: Thousands more migrant children may have been separated | Senate rejects bill to permanently ban federal funds for abortion | Women's March to lobby for 'Medicare for All' Acting AG Whitaker's wife defends him in lengthy email to journalist Watchdog: Thousands more migrant children separated from parents than previously known MORE claimed that no legal pot crackdown is “imminent” but still near.

 

Her moves are clearly in line with the opposing party and don’t support the overarching goals of the national GOP platforms.

Republicans took the presidency and both chambers of the federal Congress on three major campaign promises. The first promise is to reform the regulatory state, the second is to promote more state’s rights, and the final and most controversial is to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

In regards to the debate on repealing the wide-ranging healthcare reform bill former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBarack Obama wishes Michelle a happy birthday: 'You’re one of a kind' NY Times prints special section featuring women of the 116th Congress Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles MORE signed into law in 2010, Sen. Murkowski was a "no" vote on the final procedural actions on the ObamaCare legislation. Since then, though, the stance of Murkowski has moved away from the majority of her colleagues in the Senate to a stance that is more in line with maintaining the existence of the healthcare reform in the law books. 

But now, as Congress faces a battle on how to repeal ObamaCare, the House Speaker, Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP can't excommunicate King and ignore Trump playing to white supremacy and racism House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King House passes resolution condemning white nationalism MORE, and his leadership team have presented the American Health Care Act as the quintessential proposal to undo the former administration's benchmark healthcare policy. Already, Murkowsi has voiced preliminary opposition while her colleague, Sen. Dan Sullivan, has voiced concerns for any sort of repeal coming from the House.

Regardless, the proposal that should be noteworthy and that could resonate a little better with, at least, a part of the Alaska Congressional delegation is the ObamaCare replacement plan from House conservatives.   

Differing from House leadership’s American Health Care Act, Mark Sanford (South Carolina) and his fellow members of the House Freedom Caucus are backing a proposal that the delegation from Alaska should support. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse Republicans call for moving State of the Union to Senate chamber GOP rep: 'Rand Paul is giving the president bad advice' on Afghanistan and Syria Rand Paul suggests holding State of the Union in Senate MORE of Kentucky serves as the legislation’s prime sponsor in the Senate.

The proposal is a re-introduction of an ObamaCare repeal that received unanimous Republican support in 2015. Dubbed the ObamaCare Replacement Act, the proposal creates a free-market solution that relies on the proven support of private healthcare solutions.

The legislation empowers more consumer oriented choice in healthcare services, among all things. And, to address concerns of Murkowski’s concerns of defunding Planned Parenthood, the legislation fits perfect to a solution that empowers healthcare consumers to purchase private health plans at lower prices that still cover elective abortion services, minus the cost to taxpayers. Health savings accounts under this proposal would not cover these elective services, based on a new set of tax credits and deductions that would be created.

Essentially, the reforms on health savings accounts would allow all premiums and expanded preventive treatments to be covered and provide a tax credit that counts up $5,000 per taxpayer to fund health plans. The proposal would also support purchasing of healthcare across stateliness by removing barriers limiting the ability of a competitive marketplace to grow. 

Yet, Murkowski and her congressional colleagues need to come to the realization that the sitting Republican-held federal government will end ObamaCare policy as we know it.

So, what does she have to lose? Murkowski should support free-market solutions that promote healthcare delivery to all people, regardless of socio-economic positioning and personal health. ObamaCare has gotten too expensive to support for many states, even Alaska. Despite the fact that Gov. Bill Walker voiced his concern to Congress on finding a balanced approach to repeal actions, the recommendations and the proposal coming from Sen. Paul and his House colleagues should serve as such things.

Low-income individuals in impoverished regions in states across the Union can't wait any longer. If Murkowski sabotages the repeal of the very law she voted against, initially, she will have to account for her actions in 2022.

Michael McGrady is the executive director of McGrady Policy Research; much of his analysis on free-market healthcare reform, foreign policy and regulation have been published nationwide. Follow him on Twitter @mikemcgrady2.


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