Submitted by John C. Alessio.
I hadn’t heard from Senator O’Ban since July, when he responded to a letter I wrote exposing his terrible voting record. Well, a few days ago I received a voicemail message from him telling me how his opponent had unfairly criticized his healthcare record. He exclaimed that he actually voted for a healthcare bill – House Bill 1870 – and then he challenged the listener (in this case, me) to “look it up.” Knowing he voted against all other recent significant healthcare bills, such as the long-term care program (SB-1087) and the state public option healthcare program (SB-5526), I decided to accept his challenge and look up HB-1870.
What’s that expression about tangled webs and deception? Maybe Senator O’Ban was just trying to get into the Halloween spirit. He serves on the Health & Long Term Care Committee. He didn’t support HB-1870 in committee. As the leading member of the minority party, he signed without a recommendation. That doesn’t seem like support to me.
But it gets much worse. When the bill came to the floor, he TWICE tried to gut it of all provisions that would actually keep the insurance companies in check. The bill contains 17 sections and his first amendment proposed cutting 15 of the 17 – basically eliminating anything in the bill that would protect people from being unfairly treated or dropped by insurance companies. Fortunately, that amendment failed.
But O’Ban couldn’t stop there. He apparently had to prove to the insurance companies (heavy contributors to his campaigns) that he was doing everything he could to protect them. So, he advanced a second amendment that proposed cutting 10 of the 17 sections of the bill – again targeting sections that would protect patients from harmful insurance practices. It failed as well.
So why did O’Ban vote for HB-1870 in the end – a bill that he fought so hard to destroy? I can only speculate that it is because his re-election campaign was imminent. Now able to show the insurance companies he did everything he could to stop the bill, and knowing it was going to pass anyway, he was free to throw his constituents a crumb that would allow him to say he voted for something that would help them.
Thanks, Senator O’Ban – but no thanks. The duplicity behind your vote for HB-1870 seems pretty transparent, and we are well aware of your full voting record on healthcare. Unfortunately, your opponent’s criticisms of your healthcare record are entirely justified.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.