Jerry Moran began Tuesday as a hero to Kansas moderates, the Sunflower State Republican who took a stand against a second Senate health care bill by criticizing “the closed-door process.”
He listened to his constituents, they figured, being one of the few senators to have a town-hall meeting during the July 4 recess.
Which makes the rest of the Tuesday so oddly interesting.
Half a day after effectively killing the health care bill with Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Moran said he would support a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act — with a two-year delay and no plan to replace it. It was the Republicans’ plan for Day 1 of the Trump administration, but it went nowhere.
Three other Republican senators said Tuesday they wouldn’t support a vote to repeal Obamacare, possibly ending another round of drama, though Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a vote could still come.
Moran noted a repeal should “be followed by an open legislative process to craft health care policy that will provide greater personal choice, protections for pre-existing conditions, increased access and lower overall costs for Kansans.”
He didn’t see that in the GOP’s second bill. Nor the first, when he held a July 6 town-hall meeting in Palco (population less than 300). The youth center there was made to accommodate 65 people. About 150 showed up.
Some were from Rooks County; many others made drives from Wichita, Kansas City and elsewhere to get their one chance to tell Moran what they thought of the first bill. Though he made no indication what he heard there influenced his decision to opposing the second bill Monday, it had to be in the back of his mind.
The rejections by Moran and Lee were the start of another wild week in the health care carnival. A bill that was getting support in the teens has died. The votes aren’t there yet for a repeal-only solution. Calls from both sides are beginning for bipartisan study of health care.
Moran has done enough to make many Kansans happy and ticked off at the same time.