That simple lie from the Republicans ranks right up there with “I’ll respect you in the morning”. Ever since President Obama took office, that has been the “slogan” of the Republican Party. Only they don’t hold up their end of the bargain.
Maybe it is a simple case of semantics. Maybe we should really be asking “what American people” are they referring to? I say that because, they have not passed a single bill that fits with the polls about what the American People want.
There are lots of examples. Over 70 percent of Americans favor Universal Background Checks when purchasing a gun. They don’t want the right to bear arms taken away, they simply want to help ensure that people who purchase guns are no threat to the general public.
Over 70 percent of Americans favor raising the minimum wage. They believe that when you take a job to support your family, and work diligently for the company, you should earn a livable income without having to work a second job.
These are just two examples of what the American People want that Republicans won’t pass. If Republicans really are only interested in what the American People want, why haven’t they acted on these bills?
Then there is the upcoming fight over the Affordable Care Act. Republicans, especially Paul Ryan are itching to get in office next month to repeal the Act. They simply can’t wait for their chance.
But, there are many problems with their proposal. First of all, they don’t have any kind of replacement, so they intend to “repeal and delay” instead of repealing and replacing. But let’s be fair. You can’t expect them to have a plan yet, they have only had six years to come up with one. That isn’t enough time to come up with anything.
Republicans have called the Act a “disaster. Yet, the 39 states that use the Federal Exchange reports that more people signed up this year than last year. That is also true for states that run their own exchanges. Meaning that even more people have health care coverage than ever before.
Secondly, an independent think tank, the Commonwealth Fund reports that more people are less worried about medical costs and are actually seeing their doctors. They say that is a direct result of more people actually having insurance.
Then there is a report from Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings that says insurers selling Obamacare plans are seeing better financial results this year, suggesting that premiums are finally coming into line with the actual medical expenses of their customers ― and that this year’s big rate hikes may be a “one-time pricing correction.”
Since Ryan seems to be ignoring these simple facts, it is more likely that he is itching to repeal the Act for political reasons and not policy reasons. Maybe he is in such a rush because he doesn’t want the American People to catch up with these facts either. More importantly, maybe he doesn’t want Donald Trump to catch up with these facts.
Ryan claims that repealing would entail eliminating the Act’s funding through budget tactics. Yet, he would keep the Act’s protections in place for two or three years. In his theory, the more than 20 million people now relying on the program would hold onto insurance while Republicans craft their replacement scheme.
Only, even his own conservative friends are skeptical about that “theory”. They say that insurers that tolerated early losses in the Act’s marketplaces in the hopes of realizing future profits aren’t going to stick around for a market that’s about to disappear ― particularly if the repeal bill also takes actions, such as eliminating the individual mandate, that would tilt the insurance customer base even more toward unhealthy people with high medical expenses. If enough carriers flee, a recent analysis from the Urban Institute predicted, millions of people would lose their health insurance in just the first year.
But I am sure we don’t have to worry. The Republicans will have a great plan except that he House has a set of reform principles with no dollar figures, the Senate doesn’t even have a set of principles, and President-elect Trump has a set of vague talking points. What could possibly go wrong?
Of course one of the primary purposes of a repeal is to eliminate the $350 billion in revenue for the Act that falls mainly on the wealthiest people. And everyone knows how much Republicans favor tax cuts to the rich. But without that revenue, the schemes conservatives envision would all result in far fewer people covered, greater exposure to medical bills even among those with insurance or a combination of those two. The ones hit hardest would be the people without a lot of disposable income, the ones with serious medical problems and (worst of all) the people who fall into both categories.
As a matter of fact, Republicans are trying the bait and switch game by calling their plan Universal Access to health care. Like that name? Access does not mean coverage if you cannot afford the premiums.
The other problem is that people actually like the core elements of the Act. Those elements include not just protection for people with pre-existing conditions but also the availability of financial assistance for people who can’t afford coverage on their own ― which, in a recent Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation poll, a whopping 80 percent of Americans said they support.
The same Kaiser Foundation poll found that roughly half of Americans want to keep Obamacare in place or expand what it does. Another 17 percent merely wants Congress to scale it back, while just over a quarter want full repeal ― and even that enthusiasm wanes when respondents learn that repeal might mean eroding the law’s consumer protections.
If you look at those numbers, you will realize that repealing the Affordable Care Act is NOT what the American People want. Yes, they want it tweaked. They want it expanded. They want it to work better. But only a quarter of the people want it repealed.
So, if Republicans really are interested in “what the American People want”, why are they in such a rush to kill the Act without even having something in place to replace it with? The only answer can be is because they don’t give a damn about what the American People want.
Since 2011 when the House fell into the hands of Republicans, nothing has been done. No laws of any consequence have been passed. No new policies have been suggested or debated. No replacement plan for the Act has come forward from the party that promises to have a plan to have a plan.
And, don’t forget one other promise that is probably a big lie. While blustering about how he would replace the Act with something better, Donald Trump said during a Fox News debate: “We have to take care of the people that can’t take care of themselves.” Then he told CBS’s 60 Minutes: “Everybody’s got to be covered.”
That sounds an awful lot like universal coverage, not universal access. Of course, like everything else Trump sad during the campaign, he probably forgot about those two sentences as soon as they left his mouth.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act is going to be a disaster if they don’t have a plan to replace it with. And, if you listen to the so-called Freedom Caucus in the House, there won’t be a replacement. We will go back to how it was before the Act became law.
So, as you can plainly see, the Republican slogan of “We only want to do what the American People want” is a big lie. They do not care what you want. Unless your name is Koch and are willing to pour millions of dollars into their campaign coffers.
Tweaking the Act to make it better would be far easier than coming up with a replacement, short of universal health care like Medicare for all. But since only poor people and the working class stiffs are the only people who will lose their coverage under Republican plans, what is there to worry about?
Sorry if you are one of those. But, remember Republicans “only want to do what the American People want”. NOT!