Editorial: When it comes to legislation, the process is important

  • By Peninsula Clarion Editorial
  • Monday, July 31, 2017 10:26am
  • Opinion

While we agree that the Affordable Care Act needs reform, we also believe that it needs to be done the right way, and we commend Sen. Lisa Murkowski for her actions this week in the U.S. Senate.

For those who have been out fishing all week and missed the news, Sen. Murkowski broke with Senate Republicans this week, first in voting against opening debate on bills to repeal or replace Obamacare to varying degrees. Despite being the subject of less than complimentary tweets from President Donald Trump, she also voted against all three proposals, including the “skinny” repeal, which failed when Sen. John McCain dramatically gave it a thumbs down in the early hours of Friday morning.

Sen. Murkowski has always been clear that Obamacare needs to be fixed — but she’s also always been clear in her belief that any legislation, especially a bill as far-reaching as health care reform, needs to go through the proper process. That means Senate committees have the opportunity to thoroughly vet a piece of legislation and offer amendments before it goes to the full Senate for debate, consideration of more amendments and, eventually, a vote.

With the legislation considered this past week, that was not the case. The GOP proposals were crafted behind closed doors by a small group of Senators.

Murkowski’s stance on the Senate process has been consistent. When Democrats controlled the chamber, she was a frequent critic of the way in which legislation was drafted. When Republicans gained a majority, she promised a return to the normal rules of order, and has frequently set an example by working with members of both parties on legislation important to Alaska.

Sen. Murkowski has received criticism from those who believe she should march in lock step with her party, ironic in a state that celebrates leaders with an independent streak.

Quite frankly, repeal solely for the sake of repeal is a solution that only makes the problem worse. There is plenty in the Affordable Care Act that needs to be improved — but there’s also parts that have helped many Alaskans.

In a statement released Friday, Sen. Murkowski said she would continue to work to improve the law.

“I voted no on the health care proposal last night because both sides must do better on process and substance,” Murkowski. “The Affordable Care Act remains a flawed law that I am committed to reforming with a structure that works better for all Americans. But to do that, the Senate must fully devote itself to an effort to improve the health care system in this country, reduce costs, increase access, and deliver the quality of care that our families want and deserve.”

We don’t believe for a minute that health care reform is a dead issue. With each failure comes a new opportunity, and the Senate now has a chance to craft a piece of legislation that does more than score a political victory — a bill that actually fixes a problem.

More in Opinion

A sign welcomes people to Kenai United Methodist Church on Monday, Sept. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
It’s time for a federal law against LGBTQ discrimination

When my wife and I decided to move to Alaska, we wondered if we would be welcome in our new neighborhood.

Terri Spigelmyer. (Photo provided)
Pay It Forward: Instilling volunteerism in the next generation

We hope to have instilled in our children empathy, cultural awareness, long-term planning and the selflessness of helping others

Hal Shepherd in an undated photo taken near Homer, Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Hal Shepherd.)
Point of View: Election integrity or right-wing power grab?

Dr. King would be appalled at what is happening today

Nancy HIllstrand. (Photo provided)
Point of View: Trail Lakes is the sockeye salmon hero, not Tutka Bay

Tutka hatchery produces a pink salmon monoculture desecrating Kachemak Bay State Park and Critical Habitat Area as a feed lot

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Alaska Voices: Break the cycle of failure, debt in 2022

Today, all Americans are coerced, embarrassed or otherwise influenced into one of two old political parties

A map of Kachemak Bay State Park shows proposed land additions A, B and C in House Bill 52 and the Tutka Bay Lagoon Hatchery. (Map courtesy of Alaska State Parks)
Opinion: Rep. Vance’s bill is anti-fishermen

House Bill 52 burdens 98.5% of Cook Inlet fishermen.

A sign designates a vote center during the recent municipal election. The center offered a spot for voters to drop off ballots or fill a ballot out in person. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The failure of mail-in voting

The argument that mail-in balloting increases voter participation never impressed me

Charlie Franz.
Point of View: Election integrity is not anti-democratic

The federalization of elections by the Freedom to Vote Act infringes on the constitutional right of states to regulate elections.

Snow blows off Mt. Roberts high above the Thane avalanche chute, where an avalanche blew across the road during a major snowstorm. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
An Alaska winter of discontent

It’s been a hard winter throughout the state.

Most Read