When I read Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s op-ed piece in the Miami Herald last week I knew the south Florida legislator from congressional district 26 was worried about his chances in next year’s election. If I had voted against the interests of around 80,000 constituents in my district, I would be worried too. Curbelo’s district, in the south and southwestern sections of Miami-Dade county, has some of the highest numbers of people in the nation whose health care is covered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — more commonly referred to as Obamacare.
Those 80,000 people were figuratively speaking thrown under a careening bus when Curbelo voted to eliminate ACA and supplant it with AHCA — which we will refer to as Trumpcare. Curbelo himself admitted that “the legislation moved out of the House last week is far from perfect and needs to be improved. Many people have serious and legitimate concerns — myself included.”
Why did he vote for it then?
Curbelo admits in his own Herald op-ed that he voted to replace a flawed bill (ACA), with one that appears to be worse. His words again: “Before last week’s vote I received strong assurances that major improvements would be made in the Senate.”
What Curbelo fails to tell his readers is that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in its first reading of Trumpcare determined that 14 million Americans would be left without healthcare immediately, starting next year, if AHCA were to pass. He also forgot to mention that the only winners under a new law would be the insurance companies whose premiums would immediately rise and through a contortion of political legalese could rid themselves of people with pre-existing conditions who would not afford higher premiums. (I wonder? How many Americans over the age of 50 do NOT have a pre-existing condition?) He failed to add that through AHCA the wealthy would be in line for more tax breaks.
So it did not surprise me to read that in this second version of Trumpcare, the House of Representatives, and members like Curbelo, made sure to write a law that has yet to be scored by the CBO. Stealth helps when you know that the new law is not worse than Obamacare — it’s much worse.
Also interesting, and noted by Jerry Iannelli of the Miami New Times, was that Curbelo took a swipe at fellow south Florida congressperson, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, calling those who voted against Trumpcare the “far left”.
Still, I wondered why Curbelo would take such a stupid stand — one that may be his political undoing in next year’s midterm congressional election. He voted for a law he knew will hurt his district directly and put thousands of HIS constituents out on the street without healthcare coverage.
Allow me to speculate. And it’s just a theory. Mine.
Carlos Curbelo was threatened. He is still not entrenched in his district like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for example. He is new to the job and his elections have always been “maybe he’ll win…”
As things are, though, 2018 does not look good for any Republican running for reelection. Add to this the fact that Curbelo’s district favors a Democrat — Hillary Clinton won the district against Trump in 2016. The sum of these two does not bode well for Curbelo’s chances of returning to the House.
There are no announced candidates to date who plan to challenge Curbelo. But I have been assured that there are several looking at the possibility. They will be well-financed. And no, one of the names considering a run is NOT Joe Garcia.
Curbelo is aware that his only chance of winning is by amassing a very large war chest. He will need enough money to create a narrative using media and all means that are purchasable to change people’s current perception of their member of congress.
He was promised the money. If… he voted for House Speaker Paul Ryan’s newest version of Trumpcare. If he’d voted against it… the spigots would have been shut tight and Curbelo would have been left alone to fend for himself. A sure loss.
Iannelli’s New Times column is telling when he explains that “before Curbelo voted to repeal Obamacare last week, the U.S. congressman recorded two video statements — one to explain if he voted for the measure and one to explain if he voted against it.”
It is chilling to hear of this fact. It depicts a congressman from District 26 whose decision came after weighing all factors that favored him — not his constituents.
I believe the first sentence of Iannelli’s column sums up Curbelo beautifully: “Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo is demonstrably full of shit.”
I would add also a coward and a sell-out.