Flake sides with Donors over Arizonans in latest Health Care Battle

As editorials across the state condemn Senator Flake for supporting the toxic Graham-Cassidy-Heller health care plan -- which will spike costs, guts coverage for pre-existing conditions, “has a significant negative impact on those living in Arizona,” and is opposed by major patient advocacy organizations like the AARP and the American Medical Association -- reporting from the New York Times reveals why Republicans like Flake are advancing this bill: appeasing their political donors. In response, today Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director Herschel Fink released the following statement:

“Now we know why Senator Flake has been pushing forward with his toxic health care bill, despite the expensive and harmful impacts: Flake is putting his political donors and self-serving agenda over hardworking Arizonans. Senator Flake’s plan spikes costs, slashes Arizona’s Medicaid program, and imposes an age tax on older Americans – and he’s even admitted his bill would jeopardize coverage for pre-existing conditions. His support for this plan is the latest demonstration that he puts his own political interests over Arizona’s families, and voters will hold him accountable in 2018.”



Arizona Daily Star: Star Opinion: Flake should listen to McCain and oppose bad GOP health-care bill

By Sarah Garrecht Gassen

September 23, 3017


Key Points:

  • “As if it needed to be made any clearer, the latest push by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act underlines how party loyalty takes precedence over the welfare of millions of Americans.”

  • “The Cassidy-Graham bill… follows in the footsteps of previous half-baked legislation designed to eliminate the ACA. Also distressingly similar is the rush by GOP lawmakers to support a bill under a deadline that precludes any debate, compromise or even a clear idea of how much it would cost or if it would help or hurt.”

  • “In opposing the bill, Sen. John McCain has once again set himself apart in the small group of GOP legislators who are willing to vote their principles. We urge Sen. Jeff Flake… to follow his example.

  • “As Sen. McCain pointed out in his statement declaring he couldn’t vote for the legislation in good conscience, ‘I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried.’ We agree. It’s time to try.”

Read the full article here.


Arizona Daily Star: Steller: Obamacare repeal seeks to solve a political problem

By Tim Steller

September 24, 2017

Key Points:

  • Graham-Cassidy-Heller “seems to be a political solution to a health-care problem. But it actually is a health-care solution to a political problem. The fundamental political problem that the bill tries to solve: Republican elected officials have voted and promised for years to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.”

  • “Now that they have control of all the branches of government, GOP supporters are understandably frustrated that the party has been unable to do what was so easily promised over the last seven years. Their donors are threatening to withhold massive campaign funds, and the president has lashed them for their failures.”

  • “It’s not so surprising [these efforts] failed, though, when you look at these efforts as merely solving a political problem. Graham-Cassidy is in essence a flailing, last-ditch effort to salvage a ‘win’ for the party and the president, not a considered effort to reform the health-care sector.”

  • “To grasp that, first recall that the urgency of passing these bills quickly, without any substantial hearings or amendments, comes from a political necessity… These are… ideas that Sen. Jeff Flake deeply embraced in his book, ‘Conscience of a Conservative,’ but then dispensed when it came to a real-life test — these efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act by a majority-only vote.”

  • “And yet, faced with re-election next year and unpopularity among the Republican base, Flake took the opposite tack when it came to this health-care bill. He agreed to go along with an effort to set a major policy by a simple-majority vote. He has a political problem to fix.”

  • “These decisions don’t make a lot of sense in the policy context. By all analyses so far, Arizona, as a state that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, stands to lose more than the states that did not expand Medicaid.”

  • “There is an unstated motivation when governors and senators declare their support for these repeals: They are under tremendous financial pressure. Big funders of Republican candidates in the Koch network have said they will withhold donations until tax reform passes and Obamacare is repealed.”

  • “This kind of pressure explains more than any policy details the reason some in the GOP have been rushing to pass anything they can call a repeal. They’ve promised it. They feel they have to deliver it. And if they don’t, they fear they’ll be punished.”

Read the full article here.


New York Times: Behind New Obamacare Repeal Vote: ‘Furious’ G.O.P. Donors

By Carl Hulse

September 22, 2017


Key Points:

  • “As more than 40 subdued Republican senators lunched on Chick-fil-A at a closed-door session last week, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado painted a dire picture for his colleagues. Campaign fund-raising was drying up, he said, because of widespread disappointment among donors over the inability of the Republican Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act or do much of anything else. Mr. Gardner is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, and he warned that donors of all stripes were refusing to contribute another penny until the struggling majority produced some concrete results.”

  • “The backlash from big donors as well as the grass roots panicked Senate Republicans and was part of the motivation behind the sudden zeal to take one last crack at repealing the health care law before the end of the month.”

  • “The latest unsightly pileup over health care was exactly what some Republicans had wanted to avoid by abandoning the repeal effort and skipping straight to tax cuts after the previous embarrassing health care collapse about eight weeks ago. Instead,Senate Republicans got caught up in a rushed, last-ditch repeal attempt that not only seems unlikely to prevail, but will only serve to remind disillusioned donors about the party’s governing difficulties.”

  • “This was not what Republicans had envisioned…Their governing struggles — and attacks on congressional leaders by Mr. Trump — have soured their base, leaving the Senate majority feeling desperate.”

  • “Addressing his anxious colleagues at their weekly meeting on Sept. 12, Mr. Gardner had a simple message: If we don’t have something to run on, we are going to squander this opportunity.”

  • “Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who has been deeply involved in health policy for years, told reporters back home that he could count 10 reasons the new health proposal should not reach the floor, but that Republicans needed to press ahead regardless in order to fulfill their longstanding promise to replace and repeal President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.”

  • “Republicans say the fund-raising drop-off has been steep and across the board, from big donations to the small ones the party solicits online from the grass roots. They say the hostile views of both large and small donors are in unusual alignment and that the negative sentiment is crystallized in the fund-raising decline.”

Read the full article here.