Orrin Hatch Kills Bipartisan Healthcare Fix… Again

Jenny Wilson: “This is not what we elect a Senator to do.”

Photo: Gage Skidmore

Salt Lake City, Utah — Orrin Hatch announced today he will obstruct a bipartisan healthcare fix. Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson, who is running against Hatch, condemned the Senator’s second recent move to block the hard-fought compromise.

“For the second time in three weeks, Senator Hatch is obstructing a compromise by his Republican colleague, Senator Lamar Alexander, who has worked diligently alongside Senator Patty Murray from across the aisle,” Wilson said.

Alexander chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Murray is the committee’s most senior Democrat. They had recently resuscitated a package that would stabilize the health insurance markets created by the Affordable Care Act.

Hatch can effectively kill the compromise, however, in his role as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, as the measure would rely upon federal outlays.

“Killing bipartisan solutions is not what we elect a senator to do,” said Wilson, who is challenging Hatch for the Senate seat he has held since 1977.

“This isn’t about Democrat or Republican. This is about what works: bipartisanship. And Senator Hatch is obstructing what works.”

Alexander and Murray had first achieved a bipartisan package in late September. Hatch took the lead in obstructing that compromise.

Hatch’s second effort to smother the compromise appears to rest on the same reasoning: opposition at the federal outlay, and opposition to the fix’s temporary lifespan.

But Wilson said Hatch is being shortsighted on both counts. “You know what will result in fiscal chaos? A collapse of our health insurance marketplaces, with droves of patients flooding emergency rooms, because they lack coverage.”

“And that will be compounded by insurance rate spikes for many others,” Wilson continued, “as we’re already seeing some states announce, pointing to Washington’s negligence.”