This is Make Them Hear You, explaining how you can have your voice heard before Congress. Well, Paul Ryan said it best: “Obamacare is the law of the land.”
With no Democratic support and only 17% support of the American people, Republicans needed to pass a bill that would satisfy both the extreme right and the purple-state Republicans. But the Freedom Caucus Tea Party types dubbed the American Healthcare Act “Obamacare Lite” and soundly rejected it. And every Republican had to face countless people in their offices–and phone lines–and town hall meetings–from across the political spectrum, who said that if you pass this bill, I will die. My mother will die. My husband will die. And for the first time ever, support for Obamacare grew to over 50% of the people.
Locally, Republican Mike Coffman was one of those representatives who was undecided about it, and minutes before the bill was pulled, expressed his support, a fact that will be remembered in next year’s election. Bottom line: Trumpcare was a tax cut for the rich, cutting $600 billion in benefits, forcing 24 million people off of their health insurance, increasing premiums for people over 40, and giving an average of $200,000 in tax cuts per person to the top one tenth of one percent of the population. Millions of people celebrated the bill’s collapse, but the story ain’t over yet!
The White House and an ultra-right health and human services secretary will be faced with choices over whether to preserve insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act — or let them wither. These marketplaces cover 10 million Americans, but they have been financially fragile, prompting spiking rates and defections by insurers. On Friday, a vengeful Trump made his inclinations clear: “The best thing politically is to let Obamacare explode. When people get a 200 percent increase next year, that’s [the Democrats’] fault.”
There are levers within the ACA that the administration can use to undermine the law or, instead, try to stabilize it. In addition, federal rules could get a more conservative twist even with the law still in effect. Trump’s threat could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The choices they make are going to determine which insurers stay in the marketplace.
House Republican Mark Meadows of the Freedom Caucus still hopes to get negotiations back on track between his caucus and the other Republicans. Andy Barr said, “Many of us who campaigned on repeal are gonna keep working on it.”
Bernie Sanders and other Democrats are now proposing Medicare for all, which means universal government sponsored healthcare. They point to the fact that the Obamacare marketplaces did not do nearly as well as The Medicaid expansion.
So what’s the takeaway? Republicans lost the battle but they may be back. A new Republican healthcare plan may yet rise from the ashes. Or Trump could take revenge and find ways to destroy Obamacare. Pressure from millions of Americans saved Obamacare in Round One of this battle. If you are concerned about America’s healthcare system, you can share your ideas about healthcare with your Senators and your Representative.
— Chris Mohr