opinion

COLUMN: Be smart with Obamacare replacement



At last, the moment we’ve been waiting for. The Republicans have finally released their proposal for how they intend to revamp former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” The bill features federal insurance subsidies and tax credits which, on first glance, might make it seem like Republicans finally have a working solution.

In reality, their proposal fails on both sides, by dissatisfying both Democrats and Republicans alike.

Unsurprisingly, Democrats aren’t happy at any rollback efforts. It seems unlikely that liberals and proponents of the current “Obamacare” will break party lines to vote for this bill. Last week, in responding to Trump’s address to Congress, Democrats affirmed their opposition to Republican health care 
reforms.

Citing concerns about lower income citizens losing insurance, former Gov. Steven L. Beshear of Kentucky responded to Trump’s address to Congress by asserting that democrat’s commitment to these workers remained strong. He said “Democrats are going to do everything in our power to keep President Trump and the Republican Congress from reneging on that 
commitment.”

It’s not just Democrats who are concerned for those losing their insurance. Even Republicans are concerned. In fact, four senators have come out as reluctant to pass this bill without provisions to accommodate those in the Medicaid gap. This means that even within the Republican party there are divisions on how to approach this 
issue.

Which, while concerning, is also reassuring in the sense that deliberation is being put into the most effective means by which to implement this.

That’s not the end of the complaints. Even hard conservative groups oppose this bill. Dubbing it “Obamacare Lite,” Heritage Action for America has come out complaining that this revised bill is too similar to “Obamacare” and that Republicans need to further dismantle government healthcare before rebuilding it. The dissent surrounding this bill is enormous, and with something as critical as health care on the line, that’s a bit scary. At the same time, there’s something refreshing about it.

While I disagree with the Republican Party politically, I personally think we should have a single-payer system, I appreciate immensely their deliberation and discretion. In this contested bill, the culmination of their goal of repealing “Obamacare,” they’re struggling to come to a unified conclusion, and rather than unifying behind one bad bill, simply to spite the Democrats, they’re concerned over what they think is best for our health care system.

That’s what I appreciate the most.

Because unlike the motto of Nancy Pelosi, “We have to pass it to see what’s in it,” Republicans are legitimately concerned over the ramifications of the legislation they’re passing.

I also find this dissent refreshing, because it means this bill has a potential to not pass. As someone who likes governmental healthcare, albeit with some revisions from “Obamacare,” I’m hopeful that this bill doesn’t. Ideally, Republicans will realize that Obamacare isn’t the great evil they’ve construed it to be, and they’ll have a discussion, a dialogue about the nature of our healthcare system, and hopefully they’ll come to a reasonable 
conclusion.

Because our political system isn’t supposed to be about each side taking turns railing legislation through, it’s supposed to be about discourse, debate and 
compromise.

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