GOP’s know-nothing approach to health care is symptom of a bigger disease

Republicans’ odd and repeated failures to come up with a health-care reform plan, despite controlling all branches of government, might be because the anti-government party doesn’t want to govern.

A few years back, our state’s highest-ranking GOP official, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane, went on a fact-finding mission. It sums up why Republicans still are struggling to do anything constructive about health care.

McMorris Rodgers, who is in the leadership of the U.S. House, asked the public to “please share your story with me so that I can better understand the challenges you’re facing” regarding health insurance and the Affordable Care Act.

More than 10,000 people responded (10,659 to be exact). As I wrote at the time, most of the stories were positive. (“I was recently diagnosed with Fibromuscular Dysplasia and thanks to Obamacare, I know I won’t be dropped by my insurance carrier.”) But also, that same week, the state released data showing McMorris Rodgers’ own district had some of the higher Obamacare sign-up rates in the nation.

She ignored all of it — the stories she had solicited and the inconvenient data she hadn’t — when she called for the total repeal of the health law the next day.

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I’m recalling all of this now because fast forward 2 ½ years, and the Republicans’ obsession with this issue has become almost pathological. They’re still at it — still pushing repeal, still with no viable plan of their own, and still not listening to the opinions of the public or myriad experts and medical-interest groups.

The first problem with what McMorris Rodgers did is that it was phony. She was trolling the internet for talking points to support her already adopted position.

But the larger problem — the one that continues to hang the party today — is that she wasn’t remotely interested in the real story.

That real story is mixed. It’s complicated. It’s true, Obamacare hasn’t worked well for many people who don’t qualify for a subsidy. But at the same time it has directly helped hundreds of thousands of people in this state, and brought the uninsured rate here to historic lows. You can’t put all that on a bumper sticker.

Yet the GOP, heedless of these complexities, keeps rolling out one half-baked repeal attempt after another. How half-baked? Well Friday, when GOP Sen. John McCain announced he…

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