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Opinion

Opinion: Republicans’ contempt for democracy shows in their secretive crafting of the Obamacare repeal bill

Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, John Barrasso
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) flanked by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), left, and Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) at the Capitol.
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

To the editor: You report that the justification by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) for formulating the GOP’s healthcare legislation in secret was that holding public hearings about it would give Democrats “a chance to get up and scream.” (“Republican secrecy faces mounting criticism as GOP senators work behind closed doors to replace Obamacare,” June 16)

Isn’t that how democracy is supposed to work? Aren’t the arguments offered by the opposition party (what Hatch calls “screams”) meant to help the Senate reach a better outcome?

Republican senators know they do not represent a majority of Americans, so why are they using their slim majority in the Senate to block any input from the opposition? Could it be that they fear prolonged reasoned debate would expose the inferiority of their plan compared with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?

Legislation in a democracy should always promote what is good for all its people, not what favors less than half of them.

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Brian Finney, Venice

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To the editor: The Times crosses the line on journalistic integrity by challenging the GOP’s “closed-door approach” and its “secretive process” in addressing how to change the numerous ineffective and inefficient provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was rammed down the throats of taxpaying citizens who were lied to by the bill’s proponents.

How dare you talk about the Republicans’ secretive process when Obamacare was championed by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), who publicly proclaimed, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”

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Report both sides of the story. The public demands and expects more from the Fourth Estate.

Peter S. Griffith, Arcadia

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To the editor: I’ve been shocked and deeply distressed by the Republican senators’ secrecy in crafting their healthcare bill, which should be at the forefront of public debate given its scope.

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This latest effort by the Republican Senate leaves me feeling yet again like I no longer live in a democracy.

In order to counter this supreme lack of transparency and its harrowing impacts, it is the absolute duty of California’s Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris to make every effort to block this bill. Tactics should include withholding consent on routine matters until Republicans agree to hold hearings on this bill, and offering as many amendments as possible to delay the process.

This is an opportunity for leadership from the Democrats. We need to see that they’re willing to do everything in their power to fight for the welfare of their constituents.

Elizabeth de Mahy, Berkeley

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