Rep. Jody Hice, GOP Congressman for the 10th District, was against the AHCA, the GOP proposal which would have thrown 24 million off insurance and given the wealthy a $600 million tax break. But he did not oppose it because of these draconian features. He thought it was not draconian enough.
His archaic, regressive views on healthcare reform should be no surprise to anyone who has followed his rise. Jody Hice was a talk show host accustomed to exaggeration and hyperbole before he took office.
As such, he fits in well with the so-called Freedom Caucus, the reactionary Tea Party faction in the U.S. House of Representatives. This same group has the House Republicans terrorized. Frightened leadership is unable to compromise with Democrats to come up with a bipartisan reform package, which would easily be signed into law by a president desperate for a win.
Before the election, Hice’s well-known extremist conservative positions regarding women, abortion, gays and Islam were well known. His views were far to the right of the Republican Party, my party. Based on his previous hyperbolic statements and writings, Hice was already known to be a divider, not a uniter.
“He just wants to be Dr. No,” said Mike Collins during a 2014 GOP primary debate.
Any objective voter should have known Hice would only grandstand and obstruct, accomplishing nothing, if elected. That is clearly what he and the Freedom Caucus have done.
We are the ones who elected this government, voting for party affiliation rather than the best candidate for the job and accepting gerrymandering, which ensures that a Democrat or Republican will be elected in a non-competitive election.
Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, which includes part of Athens-Clarke County, is a good example. It has been gerrymandered by our state legislature so that liberal Athens can have little impact on who is elected as congressman in the District.
In the 2010 election, moderate Democrat Russell Edwards, who understood that it would take bipartisan votes to get things accomplished and accepted by the majority of the public, ran against Hice. He supported strong defense, a balanced budget amendment and energy independence. He opposed replacing Medicare with a voucher system, which would shift the increasing financial burden to our seniors.
The choice should have appeared clear—either vote for a common-sense candidate who will get things done or a tea party naysayer railing against the storm.
If you vote for obstructionism and intolerance, then do not complain when that is exactly what we get out of Washington D.C. That is the fate of health care reform.
There are not enough GOP votes to get a bill through Congress. As awful as the AHCA bill was, the Freedom Caucus wanted it to be even more radical.
With the lack of bipartisan cooperation shown by GOP leadership, there was no consideration at all of working with congressmen across the aisle. So here we are with a problematic ACA that needs modification, not repeal, and a Congress refusing to act.