- Illustration by Vince Dorse
You said the repeal of the Affordable Care Act won’t “pull the rug out from under anyone.” Are you sure you understand what that phrase means?
First off, just by making that claim you acknowledge that a lot of Americans do indeed have the “rug” of health insurance currently under their feet. Maybe it’s not the cushiest rug, but it keeps them from diagnosing themselves on WebMD, or extracting wisdom teeth with a rock and an ice skate like Tom Hanks did in Castaway. In fact, the number of uninsured Americans is the lowest it’s ever been in this nation’s history. Secondly, early estimates show that between eight and 10 million people will lose health care if the ACA is repealed and replaced with the Republicans’ health-care bill. So, technically, you’re not pulling the rug out; you’re lighting a match and setting it on fire. And, thanks to you, most people can’t afford the burn unit because they won’t have insurance.
Will future town-hall meetings actually be held in a town hall?
Protesters have been furious with the U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania for dodging their requests for a public meeting to discuss concerns ranging from health care to the general sanity of President Donald Trump. They’ve protested your refusal to have a public forum, and you showed them by holding a telephone town hall on just 90 minutes’ notice. A couple of weeks later, Senator, you held a 15-minute Facebook Live event with even less notice than that. While we are excited for the upcoming “Pat Toomey Short-Wave-Radio Constituent Caucus,” and the sure-to-be-a-hit “Pat Toomey’s Message-in-a-Bottle Q&A,” how about you rent a space and meet people face to face? Or, hell, call City Paper (412-316-3342) and we’ll rent the space ourselves if you agree to show up.
You do realize you work for all citizens of Pennsylvania, right?
Here’s something that will shock you, Senator — I didn’t vote for you last fall, nor did I electronically check your name six years ago. As this paper’s opinion writer and not a reporter, I think it’s OK to come clean about that “surprise.” In fact, I know a lot of people who didn’t support you; that’s no shock, either — you can easily check the election returns. But like it or not, you work for all of us, the ones who voted for you and the ones who didn’t. And while your supporters might like your voting record, you owe the people who didn’t support you answers, when you do things like support Jeff Sessions for attorney general, or Betsy DeVos for education secretary. You owe us an explanation when the president makes a wild, unsupported accusation of wiretapping and other nonsense, and you refuse to speak up in the name of politics. You chose to run for this office, and part of the job is meeting with all of your constituents and hearing their issues.