[Trenton] — Efforts to revive the Trump administration’s attempt to cut off health care insurance coverage for 24 million Americans have New Jersey’s House Republicans running for cover -- literally.
Although the revised bill has allowed Rep. Tom MacArthur to attract the national spotlight, it has also sent him running from reporters. In fact, there were numerous accounts (here, here) of the third-term Congressman's cowardice.
MacArthur’s proposed legislation, which is designed to curry favor with the radical, conservative House Freedom Caucus, has largely been panned by policy experts for being worse than the previous bill. It would once again allow insurers to cover fewer benefits and charge older and sicker patients exorbitantly high premiums. And in a classic display of hypocrisy, the Republican's amendment carved out an exception for the Congress and its staff.
While MacArthur dodges accountability, Rep. Frelinghuysen is also scrambling to find ways to appease his leaders. News reports indicate that he was forced to apologize for his opposition to the flawed bill, and his perceived insubordination even prompted the Republican leadership to consider removing him from his committee chairmanship in retaliation.
“Put aside for a moment the widespread unpopularity of these hastily-crafted bills and the questionable political motives at work. New Jersey’s House Republicans are not only considering how to harm their constituents’ health while enriching corporations, but their biggest priority appears to be how to get away with it,” said John Currie, the Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. “At best, these guys have forgotten that they serve their constituents, not special interests. At worst, they are being compelled to do what is wrong for their communities for political reasons. Either way, it is disturbing, and it is reason enough to remove them from their elected offices.