West Virginians keep options open
One of the things many West Virginians have learned is to keep our options open. It is simple common sense.
U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s vote Tuesday to allow debate on whether to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act fell into the category of representing her fellow Mountain State residents.
Capito, R-W.Va., had been considered a critical vote on the proposal. As matters turned out, she was just that. With Capito voting in favor of the measure, it was approved by the narrowest of margins, 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the deciding vote.
Another vote later in the day also was in keeping with Capito’s pledge to safeguard constituents’ interests.
She had expressed concern about the effects of a Republican proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare. Specifically, Capito worried about Medicaid enrollees and the lack of help for states battling widespread substance abuse.
Though the amendment Capito voted for Tuesday night failed, it would have addressed some of her concerns in those regards.
In view of a comment the senator made last week, some observers seemed surprised at what she did Tuesday. They should not have been.
Last week, there was talk of Congress merely repealing the ACA. Then, with a two-year deadline, lawmakers were to come up with a replacement for the national health insurance program.
Capito said she could not in good conscience support such action. She was right in that stance.
But that strategy and what was approved Tuesday were two very different things. Capito’s point last week was that she wanted to ensure a health insurance program serving her constituents well was in place before Obamacare is repealed. Some West Virginians might call that attitude refusing to “buy a pig in a poke” — that is, not agreeing to something with an uncertain outcome.
In effect, however, Tuesday’s first vote by Capito was an agreement to consider the alternatives. Her second Obamacare-related vote was an attempt to get a better deal for West Virginians.
Anyone who believes her actions this week mean Capito is an unquestioning supporter of any plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is woefully mistaken. Her stance — that any move to repeal and replace has to serve Mountain State residents well — remains unchanged from what it was last week.