All this talk about repealing the Affordable Care Act seems to ignore a possible alternative that’s been done already with other landmark legislation.
Congressional Republicans have been adamant about getting rid of the ACA. They’ve had six years to find a replacement mechanism to provide health insurance to Americans who cannot afford it otherwise. They have failed. They’ve come up with … nothing!
The alternative to flat-out repeal is to repair the ACA.
Congress enacted Medicare in 1965 to provide medical insurance to elderly Americans. It wasn’t perfect, either. Congress and President Johnson got together to tinker with it, to fine-tune it, to make it better. The same can be said of what Congress and other president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, did with Social Security when they created that program in 1935.
Reasonable minds can come together to make landmark laws better. It’s been done. Why not now?
Well, my theory is that it’s because the ACA has President Obama’s name on it. It’s been called Obamacare chiefly by those who use that term as a pejorative. They don’t like something that carries the name of a president who House and Senate Republicans have opposed since the beginning of his time in the White House.
I get that the ACA isn’t perfect. I understand that premiums have increased, that health insurance companies are bailing out, that consumers are having trouble finding doctors who will treat those covered by insurance provided by the ACA.
Aren’t there reasonable solutions to fix these problems? Can’t the ACA opponents huddle with those in Congress who support the plan to repair the law?
Oh, no! They’ve got to toss the ACA into the trash heap. They want to declare victory by calling it a “monumental failure,” a “disaster,” a “terrible idea.”
Twenty million Americans have health insurance today who didn’t have it before the ACA became law in 2010. Congressional Republicans are quite sure they can repeal the ACA. Finding a replacement is a bit more of a hurdle.
They have precedent, though, for seeking ways to repair what many folks believe is a flawed idea.
Compromise, folks! That’s how you govern effectively. You either have Americans’ interests at heart, or you are thinking only of your own political futures.