This time last year, Republicans in Washington tried - and failed - to dismantle our health care system without providing a replacement.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., unveiled their bill and demanded that their members vote for it only hours later, in the dead of night. Without a formal review process or public hearings, no one in Washington knew how much the bill would cost or who would be affected. And still, it came just one vote shy of passing.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

That says a lot about the self-interested, win-at-all costs nature of most people in Washington. They were happy to push our health care system off the cliff - and hope that the American people could build a parachute on the way down.

The bill itself was as dangerous as the process. Repealing the law without replacing it would have led to skyrocketing premiums and millions of Americans losing their coverage. Furthermore, this bill would have brought us back to a time when insurance companies were able to charge patients with pre-existing conditions astronomical premiums, basically punishing them for their illnesses and pricing many of them out of the market.

Thanks to the bravery of a few free-thinking, independent senators on both sides of the aisle, disaster was averted. But it's important to remember the catastrophic consequences that were narrowly avoided by virtue of a rare show of bipartisanship from a small group of senators. We need more of those in Washington, these days.

Quinn lives in Fargo.