Congressional Republicans’ quest to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, just can’t seem to get across the finish line. After the American Health Care Act barely passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 217 to 213 on May 3, the Senate’s version died an unceremonious death early this week.
Unfazed by this defeat, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, announced his chamber would move straight to a repeal only bill, with no replacement in sight. This idea was quickly quashed by his fellow senators, who maintained they would not even support bringing this idea to the floor.
So, what now? Where do we as a country go from here? President Donald Trump has an answer, sort of.
“We’re not going to own it,” Trump said at The White House on Tuesday of the health care issue. “I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us.”
This is a short-sighted, malicious statement for a public official to make. Why would you actively root against this? Republicans have had seven years to come up with a plan, and apparently all they’ve come up with is the word “no.” And that was only when they knew the head of the executive branch would veto any repeal of Obamacare. Now they have control of all three branches of government and they can’t decide what to do. They’re the proverbial dog that caught the car.
Simply letting nearly one-fifth of the economy fail so you can negotiate a better deal isn’t a workable plan. Real people will be hurt and killed by this action.
According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service, these are the numbers of residents in our coverage area who acquired insurance through the ACA marketplace as of Feb. 1, 2016: 1,010 in Cass County, 832 in Clinton County, 1,677 in Howard County, 783 in Miami County and 468 in Tipton County. Are they just supposed to cross their fingers and hope lawmakers in Washington, D.C. do their jobs?
What needs to happen now is what’s needed to happen for years: Republicans and Democrats are going to have to work on a plan to repair the ACA. That’s going to mean expending resources and compromising on all sides. No one said this law is perfect, but the GOP working alone apparently has no alternative. So, let’s work it out.