Let’s talk about health insurance, OK?
The highly partisan agency, the U.S. Census Bureau, has come up with some data that illustrate the difficulty the Republicans in Congress — and the pseudo-Republican in the White House — have had difficulty in repealing the Affordable Care Act.
The Census Bureau reports that the rolls of uninsured Americans has continued to decline since the enactment of the ACA. It’s now down to 8.8 percent this past year, down 0.3 percent from 2015.
Prior to implementation of the ACA, the uninsured rate stood at 13.3 percent, according to the Census Bureau.
Oh, by the way, I’m joking about the Census Bureau being full of partisan hacks.
The news isn’t all good for the ACA. A Gallup Poll indicates an increase in uninsured Americans stemming largely from the uncertainty over the ACA’s future.
I remain committed to the notion, though, that the ACA can be fine-tuned, improved, tweaked and tinkered with. It need not be scrapped, tossed onto the scrap heap, which is what congressional Republicans and Donald J. Trump want to do.
Need I remind readers of this blog that Medicare’s enactment in 1965 was followed by the a round of tinkering? President Lyndon Johnson managed to persuade his fellow Democrats and his many Republican allies on Capitol Hill to improve the landmark health insurance program. The program works well for elderly Americans.
Why in the name of compromise and cooperation can’t we find that formula today? What is stopping congressional Republicans who control Capitol Hill from working hand-in-glove with Democrats to improve the ACA? President Barack Obama implored both sides on Capitol Hill to improve it if they were so inclined; he said he was all in on any effort to make the ACA work better for more Americans.
Republicans were having none of it. “We gotta repeal it!” they bellowed. Well, they had their chance after Trump got elected president. The president failed to deliver the goods. GOP leaders in Congress failed as well. The ACA remains the law. It figures to stay that way for the foreseeable future — if not longer.
Republicans say they intend to keep yapping about repealing the ACA and replacing it with something else. The voices are growing a bit more muted in sticking to that mantra.
That’s fine with me. Repeal isn’t the only answer. Surely there’s a way to make the ACA work for even more Americans.