Yesterday, Congressman Rodney Davis did something strange. After years of sitting idly by as his party openly sabotaged the Affordable Care Act (and even joined in the sabotage on occasion), after already voting for a replacement bill, and after spending the entirety of this congressional session lying to his constituents about the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Davis took to social media to crowdsource ideas on how to fix the ACA. A confusing choice to be sure, made even more confusing by the fact that Rep. Davis is making it virtually impossible to interact with him on social media.
That’s right, in addition to not holding town halls, not holding a tele-town hall in months, his faux “open” office hours, and a general avoidance of anything approaching true “representation,” Rep. Davis has now lowered himself to blocking constituents from commenting on his Facebook, and hiding his comments section from those lucky enough to remain unblocked.
To say this is an unexpected turn of events would be inaccurate. For someone with such thin skin, it was only a matter of time. If you’ve ever sat in on Davis’s office hours you know full well he’s ill-equipped to handle tough questions. When pressed, the congressman gets easily frustrated and resorts to regurgitating party talking points or flat out denying reality. This newest development is as disappointing as it is unsurprising.
After the shooting in VA it seemed like Rep. Davis was sincere in his calls for civilized debate. However, that sincerity was soon unmasked, and the appalling cynicism of Rep. Davis’s position became clear. Instead of learning anything from the tragic events that day, or leading by example, Rep. Davis has instead doubled down on his avoidance of his constituents. His concerns over “vitriolic rhetoric” were quickly exposed to be a thinly veiled attempt to silence dissent of any kind. For example, Rep. Davis’s favorite story to tell when attempting to defend his indefensible position on healthcare is that if he hadn’t had good insurance when his wife was diagnosed with cancer, she might not have made it. However, when his constituents point out that the same goes for their families, Rep. Davis chastises them for using “vitriolic rhetoric”.
So no, I wasn’t surprised to see that Rep. Davis asked for Democratic input on a bill he’d already voted for, via a medium in which he’s intentionally made it difficult for people to provide input. As I’ve said, this is expected behavior. Rep. Davis can do no better than this, I think that’s clear. When handed an opportunity to be the bigger man, to lead by example, and to put his money where his mouth is, Rep. Davis tucked tail and ran.
I considered responding to each of Rep. Davis’s questions with a detailed analysis of potential ACA fixes. I thought it might be helpful, as Rep. Davis made it clear to me at his office hours that he reads these articles, to inform him of some actual fixes. Then I realized that we’re talking about career politician and unflinching party loyalist Rodney Davis, and that he has no desire whatsoever to actually fix the bill. He’s got his marching orders from Paul Ryan, and that’s that. Despite his many flaws, Rep. Davis is nothing if not obedient.
However, on the off-chance that Davis miraculously grows a conscience/backbone, and is actually sincere about fixing the ACA, here’s a bunch of ways he could do it without kicking 20+ million people off their plans and handing billions of dollars to the richest 1-2%, and since Rep. Davis has indicated that he reads my articles, I’ll be directing the rest of this to him (Hey Rod!):
- For starters (and really, if you only do one thing, do this) stop deliberately sabotaging the Affordable Care Act. This one’s super easy, just...stop. It’s extremely disingenuous of you to go out of your way to make sure the program doesn’t work, then act surprised when the system doesn’t work. You know we know you’re doing this right?
- Hillary Clinton (she ran for president last november) had some pretty detailed plans to do exactly what you’re asking. She had plans for controlling out-of-pocket costs, as well as for controlling prescription drug costs and a pretty grand vision for improving on the ACA in general, you can read about it here.
- You could also do what D.C and Vermont have done and eliminate off-exchange plans, bringing 7 million people back into the individual market, increasing stability and lowering costs. Those buying “off-exchange” plans are typically wealthier (as these plans don’t offer subsidies) and as we know wealthier people tend to be healthier people.
- If none of those suggestions tickle your fancy, there’s always single-payer. A program that works better than ours in literally every single country that has it. It’s cheaper, covers more people, and results in better health outcomes than our two-tiered system. I know you’re not typically one for ‘data” or “evidence” but we have a lot of it that supports this concept.
Hope these suggestions find you well, though I’m not sure why you need them. You and your party had 7 years to figure this out, and the best you could come up with is a bill that kicks 22 Million off their insurance, hands billions over to billionaires, and undoes protections for the most vulnerable among us. There’s still time though. You can actually fix the ACA. I’d be happy to sit down with you and go over our options. I tried leaving a message for you on Facebook so we could set something up but I’m blocked.
According to The News-Gazette's Tom Kacich, Rep. Davis' Press Secretary Ashley Phelps commented to him, saying essentially that Davis' office is aware of the hidden comments, and is actively censoring constituent concerns due to "hateful rhetoric". That'll happen when you try to rip healthcare away from millions of people.
We've reached out to Rep. Davis' Press Secretary for comment. As of right now, we have not received a response.