After 7 Years Republicans Still Don’t Know How to Reform Healthcare — And Their Ideas Suck
Over the past decade the Tea Party overwhelming of the GOP has made Republicans the party of No. They rarely propose significant legislation that doesn’t roll something back. They always know what they’re against but never what they’re for (unless it’s the freedom to discriminate package as Religious Liberty).
That contrarian stance is now dooming their credibility as productive representatives. The hallmark of the Tea Party has always disapproval of a robust public sector and advocating for a shrunken government. Whether to reduce taxes (for corporations more than people), or eliminate perceived barriers to the economic success of the average American, the Koch brother funded Tea Party movement rose from the disapproval of Obama and the government whose dysfunction they were exacerbating.
A major keystone of the GOP priorities since Obama took office has been to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They held nearly 60 votes to reverse the ACA and failed each time. They were able to ride the uncertainty about changes to peoples healthcare service and ride that wave of rage into congressional victories. But that was all before the ACA really came into effect, before the online marketplaces were properly maintained and before the benefits became apparent on people’s bills and the integrity of their healthcare service.
In that time the Republican Party fueled by the Tea Party movement weaved and immaculate web of misinformation to obfuscate not just the effects of the most comprehensive healthcare reform law in modern US history, but to portray Democrats as having twisted intentions to passing the law altogether, claiming Democrats knowingly lied about keeping your doctor, difficulties for businesses that had to provide insurance under the new 50 person mandate, and the death panels that would decide whether grandma lived or died. In fact the “death panels” propaganda wasn’t just a lie in 2009, it was Politifact’s 2009 Lie of the Year. The dystopian America ruined by advancing patient protections never came to pass, and now that the ACA has been implemented and benefits consumers Republicans have found themselves charging forward on the wrong side of the public.
The GOP’s web of misinformation and obstruction has been widely successful. 30% of people believe that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are two different things. Polling showed that people who disliked Obamacare when asked about it on its face, also overwhelmingly supported the provisions that are within the bill such as preventing discrimination based on pre-existing conditions or gender, kids staying on their parents plans until they’re 26 and providers not limiting the amount they paid out.
Now that the large and complex ACA has been mostly rolled out its benefits and negative effects have become more plainly visible in the healthcare industry, the economy, and people’s everyday healthcare experiences and expenditures. So now as the law is realized we see polls suggest people don’t want to repeal Obamacare. At rallies where people are voicing their support of the ACA and reforming and improving rather than destroying and force fitting a the Republican’s regressive plan.
The GOP seems to forget that the Affordable Care Act is the closest plan to a Republican healthcare reform law ever proposed by Democrats. Since Truman the Democratic Party has been trying to improve the healthcare system through enhanced protections to consumers, better service and lower cost treatment whether through universal health care, a public option or other partial changes. But in the end only plan that the Democrats could advance that wouldn’t disrupt the system entirely and could be somewhat appealing to Conservatives was a nationwide version of Romneycare, the plan successfully instituted by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Now that the Republicans actually have control of both chambers of congress and the White House they have a the ability to repeal the increasingly popular ACA. Now that the programs have been implemented, subsidies distributed and consumer protections improved the majority of Americans deespite ideology want to build upon the positive aspects of the plan, just as the Democratic Party wishes to.
Like Chuck Schumer said - the GOP has been a dog chasing the car that is repeal of the ACA, and now that they caught it they don’t know what to do.
Now that they can eliminate a successful Obama initiative they don’t know what to replace it with. And now that it’s more popular they’re starting to wonder about their stubborn position altogether. They’re also struggling with the reality that America’s healthcare system in insanely complex, and even if Republicans worked on it for 7 years would still be troublesome. But they never did, and now they’re trying to cobble together the “best” Republican ideas on healthcare.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan distributed talking to his Republican colleagues to guide them when talking with constituents abpout the repeal and replace plans over their February recess. The talking points consist of proposals of ill-fitting ideas that collectively make healthcare more expensive, especially for middle and low income patients.
Here’s a rundown of the items in their best healthcare plan:
- Refundable tax credits: which in their current proposal is money distributed by the government to people in need. But the credits would be switched from being based on income to being based on age. Which on its face could make sense but leaves a tremendous amount of loopholes for people to fall through without assistance. The plan would have Bill Gates receive a lot more credits than a 27 year old minimum wage worker. Or a vigorously healthy 60 year old would get more than a 20 year old with a serious illness.
- Healthcare Savings Account: Great for people who have money to save for healthcare expenses. But if you already have trouble saving for yourself or a major expense as 1/3 of US households do you won’t be able to put any funds into the savings account. Even if you do save and have a serious illness or require longer care you can blow through your savings account without being able to refill it. Again this idea is great for wealthy people who can afford to set aside money for healthcare costs but not the majority of middle class and low-income Americans who are already struggling to save and pay their bills as it is. As John Oliver put it that’s like saying to someone you can’t save now but if you ever are able to here’s a really fancy piggy bank.
They have a ticking clock in front of their faces to backup the discrediting theoretic they’ve been spouting and campaign promises made by both legislators and President Trump to quickly and swiftly repeal “the disaster that is Obamacare”.
Their real biggest problem is they have no idea how to improve the healthcare system. They want to radically disrupt the entitlements arrangement to help the wealthy, enrich healthcare corporations, and give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. They’ve been fighting to rip apart the ACA without an actual plan on how they would improve it. Without question America’s healthcare needs improvement, but lets build on what works, and create support systems for the most disadvantaged while reducing prescription costs and streamlining care. The Republican plan is to Make America Sick and Poor Again. I hope that reality supersedes partisan rhetoric and the reluctance to admit Obama’s success and prevents the ACA from being repealed.