Right before President Obama left office, he gave an interview with Vox, predicting that all the talk over the last eight years of Republican’s saying they will repeal and replace Obamacare wouldn’t happen – and he was right.
“Now is the time when Republicans have to go ahead and show their cards. If in fact they have a program that would genuinely work better, and they want to call it whatever they want – they can call it Trumpcare or McConnellcare or Ryancare – if it actually works, I will be the first one to say, ‘Great.’”
“I suspect, Obama continued, “that will not happen.”
So far, Republicans have held majorities in both the House and the Senate and still have yet to produce health care legislation. Part of the reason for that is because they simply don’t have a program that will work better. Trump has been in office for more than six months now and one of his biggest campaign promises – that along with every Republican re-elected – was to repeal President Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act. So, far, they’ve failed at every attempt. And, so far, President Obama’s prediction has held true.
And, his logic was spot on: if they can produce a better plan that will ‘work better’ the public will want it and Obama will even voice his support for it. Republicans just haven’t been able to do that yet. Healthcare is complex and coming up with a solution for the American people isn’t easy.
Republicans can’t secure enough votes because conservatives realize if they take healthcare away from 22 plus million Americans at higher monthly premiums, which is what the Congressional Budget Office estimates, then their own constituents will be unduly impacted.
Here’s the other funny thing, as Vox points out: “In many ways, Obamacare is fundamentally conservative and market-reliant.” And – all attempts by conservatives to make it more market-reliant are failing miserably. They want to lower deductibles (which current enrollees say under Obamacare are too high) but every Republican submitted plan would raise them, which is pretty ironic.
“I’ve come to an answer that will be hard for many conservatives to swallow,” Craig Garthwaite, a Northwestern University professor and self-identified Republican wrote in the Washington Post last month. “Passing an Obamacare replacement is difficult because the existing system is fundamentally a collection of moderately conservative policies.”
Here’s another: some Republicans are simply afraid to take away benefits from people, which is exactly what Republican leadership is trying to do. They’re afraid of the backlash – and they should be.
“People who are receiving benefits, they’re going to react pretty strongly to that being taken away from them,” Pierson told Vox’s Dylan Matthews earlier this year. “Each taxpayer is paying for a lot of stuff and cares a little bit about each thing, but the person who’s receiving the benefits is going to care enormously about that.”
Which brings us to our other point: Obamacare policies are actually popular, according to studies.
Check this out: 90 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans support allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance till the age of 26, 89 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republicans approved the elimination of out-of-pocket expenses for many preventive services; 91 percent and 67 percent wanted subsidies for low- and middle-income Americans to purchase insurance; 90 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of Republicans support the Medicaid expansion; 75 percent and 63 percent wanted to prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage because of one’s medical history; and 82 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of Republicans support increasing the Medicare payroll tax on earnings for upper-income Americans. This is Obamacare.
Right now, Obamacare is woven into the fabric of our healthcare system. And, here’s the sad truth, which is what President Obama tried to point out to Republicans earlier in the year: unless you can propose a better way, Obamacare is here to stay.