It’s time for Trump to strengthen Obamacare, not destroy it

By Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair, Martha Laning

Funny thing about governing: it’s easy to denounce legislation you don’t like, but it’s a lot harder to get something done yourself. That’s the lesson House Republicans (hopefully) learned when, after seven years of bashing Obamacare to score political points with their base, they failed to unify around an alternative plan.

The Republican bill failed because, simply, the American people sent a strong message rejecting its potentially catastrophic effects. It shouldn’t be surprising: Obamacare has given 20 million Americans health care access, allowed young people to stay on their parents’ coverage and ensured that those with pre-existing conditions don’t have their health care taken away. The Republicans had the audacity to replace this successful plan with a haphazard bill that would have ripped health care from 24 million Americans and only benefitted Republicans’ wealthy donors. The American people’s rejection of this legislation sent a clear message: Republicans need to prioritize people’s health over their party’s political ambitions.

With this failure, though, comes a new opportunity: if Republicans can’t replace Obamacare, then President Trump should try to strengthen the law. We know this effort won’t come from Congress: Paul Ryan has flatly stated that he will reject bipartisanship, instead focusing on efforts to sabotage Obamacare so that Americans will be desperate enough to support his next bill. Republicans are targeting maternity and mental health benefits, they’re weakening Medicare and Medicaid, and they’re willfully undermining the ACA marketplaces. It’s clear that Republicans would rather push the false narrative that Obamacare is failing than present measures to improve the health of everyday Americans.

President Trump, too, has co-opted this campaign to tear down Obamacare. However, the president has also suggested that he may be willing to reach across the aisle on health care. This would absolutely be the right move for the American people. Obamacare has been a tremendous success, but it can be strengthened. If Trump worked with Democrats, he could help extend affordable, quality care to more Americans. For a President who campaigned as an outsider and a man of the people, all Trump has done so far is conform to what the party establishment wants. If he truly cares about making America great, he’ll work with Democrats to improve our health care system, not deliberately destroy it.

Democrats are proud of the work President Barack Obama did to expand access to affordable health care and Democrats are ready and willing to strengthen Obamacare and give even more Americans the quality care they need and deserve. Democrats have already introduced many bills to try and do so. If President Trump wants to work with us, we’re ready. The question is whether President Trump and Congressional Republicans are ready to do the work of the people instead of play politics.

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