Republicans were unable to escape from the blowback that has resulted from their continued efforts to pass a historically unpopular repeal for the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).
Sen. Susan Collins told the Washington Post that citizens at the Eastport, Maine, parade came to her with "only one issue." Health care.
"It’s usually a wide range of issues. I heard, over and over again, encouragement for my stand against the current version of the Senate and House health-care bills. People were thanking me, over and over again. ‘Thank you, Susan!’ ‘Stay strong, Susan!’"
Only four of the Senate's 52 Republicans announced planned appearances at 4th of July parades, including Collins, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Cruz was also joined by Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana as one of only three Senate Republicans to agree to public town hall meetings.
Part of this reticence may be due to the backlash that even now greets Republicans who come forward about the subject of health care reform. When the Indiana Republican Party asked for "Obamacare horror stories" in a Facebook post, they were greeted with responses that sharply criticized their repeal efforts. As USA Today reported, these comments included:
"My sister finally has access to affordable quality care and treatment for her diabetes."
"My father's small business was able to insure its employees for the first time ever. #thanksObama"
"The only horror in the story is that Republicans might take it away."
Other comments included:
"I was able to get reasonable insurance so that I could afford to retire early to be able to help care for my parents (one heart operation, the other Alzheimer's) Thanks to my researching the options I was able to keep my doctors and have had no trouble with claims! Thanks ACA!"
"Because I can READ, I discovered I can get preventative care on every ACA plan BEFORE the deductible. Because I have pre-existing conditions I now have all my chronic illnesses covered and was able to start a business. Because I qualify for subsidies (and most people do if they use the website correctly or ask for help) I pay only $25 a month and have $250 out of pocket max. Lastly, I didn't have to go on disability, which was where I was headed before the ACA because of same disabling medical conditions, instead, I have a normal LIFE. Oh, the horror!"
"I was able to get insurance that covered what I needed at a subsidized price I could afford after being denied for a neck injury from my childhood.