It has been 72 months since the Affordable Health Care Act was passed into law. Since that time, we have learned what we now refer to as Obama Care is ineffective on the affordable part but does provide the health care part to many millions as promised.
Baby Bully Trump vowed to “repeal and replace Obamacare” upon taking office. In my view, Trump did his best to get some movement, but was blindsided by a fractured Republican party.
The Republicans, who characterized Obamacare as more poisonous to humanity than cyanide, voted dozens of times to repeal it. For 72 months they have been coming up with a better plan, or so they told us. But today as you read this, new legislation came and went with a whimper and Obamacare is still the law of the land.
What comes to mind about the first failed attempt to replace and repeal Obamacare is that there seems to be three Republican parties.
The Tea Party loyal, libertarianesque, Freedom Caucus wants to remove the basic medical coverage, emergency room fee reimbursements, prescription drug discounts, mental health coverage, and mandatory enrollment components from any national medical plan. Of course, this simply means everyone for himself or herself. The government, under their plan, should walk away from regulatory control, cost reduction, and anything useful regarding health care.
The moderate Republicans, fiscally conservative but somewhat more socially conciliatory, are lead by the Crystal Eyed Speaker Paul Ryan. The moderates take a more rational approach and were trying to keep the valuable elements of Obamacare. But they could not find a way to reduce costs without additional government involvement, and so they were at an impasse with the Freedom Caucus and with themselves.
The Trump camp, whom I call the Bully Republicans, seem pragmatic and driven for instant and immediate change. They don’t seem to mind spending a ton of money for defending and protecting the nation as a whole on things like on the “The Wall” and our military. But Trump and the Bully Republicans can’t seem to bring themselves to spend on protecting and caring for actual people.
Needless to say, it takes a united political effort to create any real change. And now we essentially have four parties.
To make it fair, perhaps the Dems should undergo political mitosis and separate into progressives, ala Clinton, liberals under Sanders, and labor run by unions. That would even up the game and make government a bit more exciting.
Two large powers always vying for control is never going to work. Neither side will cooperate with the other except for the first 30 days after a national tragedy.
Another observation we can make from this failure to repeal and replace Obamacare is the fiscal versus service dilemma Republicans face.
Lowering our national debt means significantly cutting valuable programs such as national defense, Medicare, Social Security, the intelligence services, and so on. That is why even under Trump, no real national debt relief is possible: Congress does not have the heart to make unpopular moves and lose elections in order to save significant amounts of money.
A final item of interest revealed by this failed reform effort is Trump’s attempt to power his way through instead of using persuasion. I am sure he had no idea what was in the proposed health care law, but threatened Republicans to “pass it or else.”
Well, or else has come and gone and the bill still failed.
Trump I believe has just revealed his true nature- all talk and more talk. He bullied, insulted, demeaned, and slandered his way into office and now the shine is turning into rust.
No national health care program will work unless everyone is in it, we share the burden according to ability, and we cut insurance companies out of the middle. We need medical coverage not medical insurance.
We all know the Republicans are bought with insurance company and big business mega-donations. We know they want government out of managing any domestic program. And we know they won’t spend on serving real people.
Under Republican control, an effective health care plan is therefore not possible.
Republicans will in time pass something that is cheap, ineffective, and will provide meaningless coverage. Perhaps their plan will consist of free advice nurse phone calls and a get well card from the Office of the President.
My hope is that Obamacare is tweaked, not repealed, and that moderates from both parties come together to make this happen.
Jonathan Kraut directs private investigations and private security firms, is a published author, Democratic Party activist, and SCV Interfaith Council member. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.