Meehan stands Pat on health care

Pat Meehan hasn't changed his mind.

He still believes the Affordable Care Act is flawed and needs to be changed.

That's why he voted consistently over the past four years with his Republican constituents to repeal the law known as Obamacare. Of course, with President Obama's veto awaiting, that was largely a symbolic act.

Not anymore.

There's a new sheriff in town. And Donald Trump has made it clear that one of his priorities - one of the benchmarks of his campaign - is the repeal of Obamacare.

But Republicans have come under fire for not having a replacement plan of their own.

Even Meehan believed his counterparts were rushing things just a bit. He started talking about "rescue and repair, as opposed to "repeal and replace."

This week House Republicans rolled out their American Health Plan, and started ramming it through Congress. After a marathon session that did not wind up until 4:15 a.m., the House Ways and Means Committee voted in favor of the plan. Meehan voted to support the move.

Thursday, protesters were back outside his Springfield district office to note their concerns. You can read our story here.

But Meehan's spokesman, John Elizandro, notes that the GOP plan does something important that the congressman had been adamant about. It continues coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, and it allows dependents such as college students to stay on their parents' plans until age 26.

The bill now moves to the full House and Senate, where it's fate remains up in the air. This now is clearly in the GOP's hands. If they can keep the rank-and-file in line, they have the votes - and the president - to get this done.

Ironically, their biggest challenge might come not from Democrats, but from conservative members of their own party who are not happy, who are labeling this effort "Obamacare Light." They want complete repeal, and they likely will not be happy settling for something less than they were promised again and again on the campaign trail.