The Affordable Care Act is not perfect legislation. President Obama himself said it would be legislation that would need to be adjusted and improved over time, but that it was the right framework for what the country needed and that he was willing to sit down and look at ways to improve it.
Since the law was passed, many governors and state legislators have refused or pushed back on cooperation to build the exchanges, the Supreme Court ruled that states could refuse to accept Medicaid if they so chose not to expand and help more people, and now President Trump has purposefully destabilized the market by refusing to commit to funding the insurance cost-sharing program that is part of the law, which will have prevented some insurers from exiting the markets in rural counties or at-risk areas. The GOP has said “Obamacare doesn’t work”. I believe that’s a flat-out misleading statement. When you work to undermine the law’s effectiveness the entire time since its passage, then point to the failures as proof that it doesn’t work, you are being disingenuous with the people.
The Affordable Care Act has saved countless lives, insured families that has never before seen coverage, and brought down health care inflation. It has also added more than 500,000 jobs to the expanding health care market since 2012. These are inconvenient facts for those who have bought into the messaging of the GOP leadership without doing their homework.
Let me provide a word of caution to the Republican senators considering the latest amendments proposed to the Senate bill. If you somehow succeed in killing the Affordable Care Act, do not think for one single second you have done something permanent. A recent poll showed only 12% support for your plan. If you’ve paid attention to American political history, you will know the Democrats will eventually gain back control of Congress, perhaps as a direct result of your overreach on this issue. When they do take back the gavel, they will not be reintroducing “Obamacare”. By then, the American people will have been looking at the benefits of a single payer system — and they won’t be fooled by your scare tactics of “government run healthcare”.
How ironic will it be that the Republican’s failure to compromise while they had the chance will come back to bite them in the form of a proven single-payer system? At that point, the genie will be out of the bottle and the GOP will be forced to see the flawed logic they had when attempting to block the will of the American people.
The bottom line is this: We need to fix the ACA for the short-term and not boot 22 million people off healthcare. This can be done with a bi-partisan effort — and there are GOP senators who are ready to do it. The ACA is NOT broken beyond repair. Once we stabilize the ACA, then we should turn our attention to properly educating the American people about the benefits of an American-style single-payer system and how this may be shaped in the future so that all citizens are guaranteed to receive high quality, low-cost healthcare.