American Health Care Act was a major Republican loss
Lynandro Simmons – General Assignment Reporter
The Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare as it is commonly called – has been under scrutiny by Republicans since it was enacted and on March 6, and House Republicans unveiled their American Health Care Act. However, upon coming forth with their proposal to replace Obamacare, the House Republicans were met with intense scrutiny from some members of their own party. On Friday March 24 House Republicans finally decided to pull their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The Congressional Budget Committee released a report saying if the original American Health Care Act had been passed, around 14 million people would have been uninsured next year. This number would jump to 24 million over the next nine years according to the CBO. This report led to several moderate Republicans opposing the bill when it was proposed.
When things became tense, President Donald Trump decided to offer an ultimatum: vote Friday or he will move on from the health care reform. When Friday came some Republicans – the party which currently dominates the seats in the house – continued to oppose the proposed bill. The lack of support and votes eventually led to Trump telling Paul Ryan, speaker for the House of Representatives, to pull the bill.
This marked a success for Democrats and more alarmingly showed a divide in some Republicans. For seven years Republicans have talked about the downside of Obamacare. Changing the current health care law grew to become one of their major stances. This loss is not only a devastating blow to both Trump and Ryan, it throws doubt into a crusade that has defined Republican politics for over seven years. The loss is another lesson or crash course in politics for Trump. His ultimatum may have been a gamble to win over Republicans who were hesitant on the bill, but it failed.
The American Health Care Act proposed by Republicans would have ended Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility and cut funding for the rest of the Medicaid program moving forward. It would also have redistributed financial assistance which meant people with lower incomes and higher insurance costs would get less than they do currently. What was probably most important to Republicans was that the bill would have ended the “individual mandate.” This was the unpopular financial penalty for people who did not purchase health insurance. Many people took issue with this mandate and it was usually cited as the most glaring issue in the Affordable Care Act.
The issue that was most alarming to many of the moderate Republicans in the house was that the bill would take away insurance coverage from too many people. This would lead to increasing costs for those who did chose to keep the coverage. While conservatives worried the repeal did not go far enough, moderates worried it went too far.
There are several issues that need to be addressed in Obamacare. Obama himself said he would be willing to work with Republicans if they proposed a better bill. When push came to shove, they did not. The terrible health care bill proposed by Paul Ryan has failed. Let the finger pointing within the Republican Party begin.