Of the 217 House Republicans who voted for the bill to repeal Obamacare, only a tiny handful have committed to facing their own voters to tell them why they deserve to lose their access to health care.
House Speaker Paul Ryan finally passed the health care bill he and Donald Trump have been pushing for weeks, after backroom deals with the Freedom Caucus and a series of amendments that only made it worse. It now heads to the Senate.
The repeal bill, which Republicans call the American Health Care Act, kicks over 24 million people off their health insurance. It guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including patients with cancer, diabetes, asthma, postpartum depression, even victims of rape and domestic violence.
It weakens state insurance regulations on employer plans. It cuts $800 billion from Medicaid and bans Medicaid recipients from getting care at Planned Parenthood. It even defunds services for disabled students at public schools. And for good measure, it includes a $600 billion tax cut for the rich.
All told, this bill is one of the most breathtakingly evil pieces of legislation in living memory.
And yet Republicans rushed it through without reading it, understanding it, or waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to analyze it. And they celebrated its passage by throwing themselves a keg party.
While House Republicans cheered and slapped themselves on the back Thursday, however, they seem much less confident talking about it with their constituents.
As of Friday, according to Town Hall Project, fewer than a dozen of the 217 representatives who voted to wreck health care for the American people have scheduled town hall meetings.
— Town Hall Project (@townhallproject) May 4, 2017
Among the Republicans who have so far failed to schedule any town halls: California Rep. Darrell Issa, who claimed it was “none of your business” how he was going to vote; Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett, who thinks it is no big deal if sick people die because they did not vote for him; Arizona Rep. Martha McSally, who loudly proclaimed Congress had to vote for this “fucking thing,” Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who thinks “people who lead good lives” do not get pre-existing conditions; New York Rep. Chris Collins, who asked a reporter on air to explain to him the bill he just voted for; and Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who rode into the House chamber on a scooter after surgery for a pre-existing foot condition to vote to kill everyone else’s pre-existing condition coverage.
While it is inexcusable that Republicans are not prepared to explain their votes face to face with people in their districts, it is no surprise that many of them are scared of doing so:
— Stephen Wolf (@PoliticsWolf) May 4, 2017
— Indivisible Guide (@IndivisibleTeam) May 4, 2017
Republican lawmakers know that the second they go home, the resistance will be waiting for them. But if they continue to dodge their constituents and refuse any public accountability for their actions, they are unlikely to remain in office for long.