It’s common knowledge that from day one of the Affordable Care Act, Republican members of the Senate and the House have been possessed of an enthusiasm crossing straight over into zealotry at the possibility of the act — upon which tens of millions of Americans depend for their healthcare — being gutted or repealed outright.
But Reuters reported in an article published Friday that President Obama has identified an unlikely and unfortunate set of malcontents. This group is at the opposite end of the spectrum relative to the Republican hardliners we’re accustomed to: the Sanders supporters.
Obama said Friday that complaints from the furthest left element of the Democratic Party has fueled discontent with the Affordable Care Act, and may even contribute to its downfall. The president has been using his last few days as the country’s commander-in-chief to drum up support and keep Republicans from destroying what may perhaps be his greatest legacy. The GOP will be in control of both the executive and legislative branches of government in a matter of two weeks.
The Affordable Care Act provides insurance and subsidies for the lowest income Americans who may not be able to easily get health care through their employers. During an event with Vox Media, the president told reporters that keeping the ACA on the books has been an uphill battle, due primarily to Republicans who refused to work with him on modifications to the act.
The president also added, however, that it wasn’t all just about Republicans fanning the flames of discontent. Left-wing folks such as Sen. Bernie Sanders had also played a big part in the ACA’s lack of popularity. Sen. Sanders, during his campaign for the Democratic nomination, spoke frankly about replacing the ACA with a single-payer health care system, similar to what Canada has. He also touted the merits of Medicare, the government plan being used by many older or disabled U.S. citizens. In his interview, Obama grouped in Sanders supporters with the Republicans they despise.
‘In the “dissatisfied” column are a whole bunch of Bernie Sanders supporters who wanted a single-payer plan. The problem is not that they think Obamacare is a failure. The problem is that they don’t think it went far enough and that it left too many people still uncovered.’
Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs concurred with Obama, saying that many Americans would love to see the federal government stick up for its poorest citizens by standing up to private insurance and pharmaceutical companies and providing more comprehensive health care. He added that many Americans are confused by our bizarrely skewed cost/benefit ratio when it comes to healthcare in the U.S.
‘There are many millions of Americans, including many of Bernie’s supporters, who don’t understand why we are the only major country on earth that does not provide health care as a right and they don’t understand why we pay more but get less for what we spend on health care.’
Recent polls have suggested that Americans are split down the middle, both on their opinion of the ACA and whether or not it should be repealed. Forty-six percent of Americans have a negative view of the law, while 43 percent have a positive one. Although Trump and his GOP ilk have proudly stated that they will wreck the ACA as soon as possible, such a move would leave millions of Americans without health insurance. Democrats have argued fervently that the GOP should come up with a replacement plan before destroying Obama’s legacy.
Featured image courtesy of Pool on Getty Images. All rights reserved. Image has been modified from its original form.