A Maryland official estimates that more than 30,000 people recently gained private coverage through the Obamacare market in Maryland’s 1st District — health insurance that their representative in Congress, Andy Harris, a six-term Republican, opposed for years.

I report this trend to note how clueless Harris has been about some of the people he represents in Washington. It never seemed to matter that an estimated 70,000 uninsured constituents stood to benefit from the law. Harris thought, as he once asserted, that the majority of his peeps opposed the measure, but whatever the ideological argument — “Obama proposed it, we’re against it” — it was clear from the start that people in his district wanted help getting health insurance they could afford. And Harris represents some of the poorest rural areas in Maryland — therefore, the people who stood to gain most from a law he constantly opposed. We estimated in 2015 that some 14,000 people in his district had obtained insurance through Maryland’s Obamacare exchange in its first year.

I’m told that, this fall and winter, Obamacare enrollment in the 1st District grew as fast as anywhere in the state. (Carroll County and Harford County were the two biggest gainers.) 

That’s why Harris hasn’t had much to say about Obamacare in recent years — too many of his constituents got insured and, nationally, his fellow Republicans have pretty much retreated from the battlefield.

March will mark 12 years since Democrats in the House and Senate were able to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, the once-in-a-generation law that has extended health insurance to 31 million Americans through Medicaid expansion, subsidies and mandates. Today, more Americans than ever have health insurance through the ACA — despite numerous court challenges and constant Republican opposition, including dozens of votes to repeal the law and Trump’s pledge to kill it once he was elected president. (Remember “Repeal and Replace”?)

There are still millions of people without health insurance, a lot of them in states with Republican governors who opposed the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.

In Maryland, about 300,000 people remain uninsured. It’s estimated that about 30,000 live in the poorest regions of the 1st District. The Lower Shore counties (Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset) continue to be a hotspot for people lacking health insurance. You’d think that, at this point Andy Harris, a doctor, would want to do something about that by visiting those counties and promoting Obamacare enrollment. But he won’t. Being a do-nothing Republican in Congress means just that — you get to rail against the welfare state and the spread of socialism while getting $174,000 a year in salary plus health insurance benefits for doing nothing of substance. What a deal.

My Friday column: Andy Harris, Hall of Fame hypocrite

Comment from Sun reader Craig Herud: “While I’m not happy about the prospect of being included in the 1st District again as a result of the 2020 Census I relish the thought of being able to vote against Harris. I’d vote for a crash test dummy before I’d vote for Harris.”

One thought on “The triumph of Obamacare despite Andy Harris and other do-nothing Republicans.

  1. My three brothers-in-law spent most of the 2010’s as self employed contractors. They all refused to buy ACA because it it was “Obamacare” They also all had heart attacks during this period which they will probably be paying off the rest of their lives. One of them has had one Covid vaccine only, the other two still refuse.
    Everyone’s “self interest” is their own. It’s common sense to you and I to not smoke, wear seatbelts, get vaccinated, etc. To my in-laws, it’s someone in authority (better educated, usually female) telling them what to do, just like in school.
    Many of the voters who have kept Andy Harris in office probably think the same way and would rather risk a gruesome death just the have the opportunity to “own the libs”. Bill Maher said “People don’t vote to say thank you, they vote to say fuck you”. A vote for insurrectionist Andy Harris is just that.

    Liked by 1 person

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