After two disastrous town halls and constant protestors at his local offices, Congressman Leonard Lance has suddenly reversed course and announced that he would vote against the so-called Affordable Health Care Act. Sounds great, right? Well, no. It’s not quite that simple, and this deceptive statement should not mollify anyone who truly opposes the AHCA.
Let’s take a step back. Lance has voted in opposition to, or to repeal, the Affordable Care Act countless times, in lockstep with the Republican majority that has attempted to do so approximately sixty times. Then, when the AHCA was announced, Lance was an enthusiastic supporter. This is despite not knowing during an appearance on MSNBC that more than 20,000 constituents are enrolled in an ACA exchange (Lance thought there were roughly 5,000) and would lose coverage if it were repealed.
On March 9, 2017, Lance voted with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in favor of the AHCA, after rushing it through before the Congressional Budget Office could score the bill. Just five days later, Lance now says he will vote against the AHCA.
Lance has admitted that he will only vote “no” if/when the bill comes to a final vote because the bill will fail to pass the Senate. There is no consideration of what his constituents want or need. There is no moral principle he’s standing on. Lance still wants to repeal the ACA, and he still wants the AHCA to pass. He’s even said if the GOP comes out with a slightly revised version that’s less reviled, he’ll vote for it. In the meantime, he voted to push the AHCA to the floor of the House of Representatives, where he gets to safely vote “no,” not because he actually opposes the bill, but because he knows it will fail and he wants to look good to constituents that only read the headline.
So what Lance is doing is the most cowardly politician move that you can ask for. He voted yes for a bill his constituents despise, in secret, so that it could move forward. You can bet if popular opinion changes, he’ll vote for it again. Now he’s trying to save his image, but we must not be fooled. There is still work to be done to convince Lance that the AHCA will hurt his constituents. “Decisions are made by those who show up.” We must continue to hold Lance’s feet to the fire, and if he continues to support dismantling the ACA rather than building upon it, it is incumbent upon us to vote him out next November.