Obamacare may not be dead upon the Republicans arrival, for all the GOP’s drama and chest beating as they voted over 50 times to repeal it. House Speaker Paul Ryan claimed that his very first act would be to repeal the Affordable Care Act [ACA]! So what happened?
The cracks in the Republicans’ grand plan to repeal the ACA began to show as soon as they took the majority in the House, the Senate, and the White House. For years, the Grand Old Party has been claiming it has a plan, maybe six plans, to replace Obamacare. But maybe they do not.
The ACA is not perfect by any means. Originally, Democrats wanted a single-payer system, Medicare for all. However, the Republicans said they would not support it unless they could stick the private insurance companies in the middle of the deal. Insurance companies had to make money, so of course people ended up paying more. That is why prices just went up.
So what has Obamacare done for people? First off, it gave insurance to 20 million people who did not have it. The ACA closed the drug donut hole, or more appropriately spider hole, for seniors. This spider hole left them with a substantial gap in coverage, amounting to thousands of dollars.
Until Obamacare, the insurance companies had been left to run wild with their pricing and lack of coverage. People could not get healthcare if they had a pre-existing condition, and the insurance companies defined that as they chose. A child with diabetes could never get coverage, and a woman who delivered a baby could never get insurance again, as a few examples.
Then the companies pulled another trick. They capped a person’s coverage, leaving untold numbers of families bankrupt. Healthcare is the top reason for bankruptcies.
Republicans soon realized that killing Obamacare would result in scores of lost seats. At first they talked about repealing it, but delaying the actual repeal implementation until after the 2018 elections. Then they moved that delay out to 2020. They talked about keeping the “good parts,” but soon realized such a complex system would grind to a halt unless everyone had coverage, according to the New York magazine.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is facing accumulating defections in the Senate. The House requires a majority, and the Senate needs 50 votes, and then the next president has to pass repeal-and-delay.
There are at least three Republican senators who insist upon a repeal-replace at one time. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) went to Trump and acquired his agreement. Lamar Alexander told Talking Points Memo:
‘We have to take each part of it and consider what it would take to create a new and better alternative and then begin to create that alternative and once it’s available to the American people, then we can finally repeal Obamacare.’
Surprisingly, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK) announced on MSNBC:
‘It would not be the right path for us to repeal Obamacare without laying out a path forward.’
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) asked the next president to tweet a confirmation of Paul’s claim. Corker told POLITICO:
‘If it is his view, it would be really good if he would consider tweeting it out very clearly. There’s more and more concerns about not doing it simultaneously.’
The Republicans simply do not have a replacement for Obamacare. Corker said:
‘You would think after six years we would have a pretty good sense of what we would like to do.’
What it comes down to is this: voters simply do not want to see people die, because life and death are exactly what the Republicans are playing with, should they actually repeal Obamacare.
Featured Image: Getty/Lisa Lake