The future of Obamacare

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  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Cruz opposes relinquishing U.S. control over a private-sector, nonprofit organization that administers internet domain names and designations.

  • Bernie Sanders speaks passionately on the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pa. Sanders supporters still hope he has a path to the White House through congressional action.

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JOSHUA DAUSENER, Copy Editor | [email protected]

This week, Senators Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz held a debate on CNN regarding the future of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and of health care in general in the United States. Regardless of your political leanings, the debate was excellent for democracy. The debate featured two politicians who respected each other and treated each other with civility.

There were no personal insults or name calling in this debate. Instead, we got 90 minutes of substantive policy debate, good talking points and a real exchange of ideas. I commend CNN on hosting this debate, and I hope they and other media outlets hold similar debates in the future to discuss the issues facing our country.

Obamacare has seen a large uptick in popularity since President Obama left office as the prospect of repeal became realistic. Poll after poll has shown the majority of Americans favor keeping Obamacare around or reforming the law; relatively few want to see the full repeal of the law. Republican lawmakers have been taken aback by the upsurge in Obamacare’s popularity, and have backtracked on their promises to immediately repeal the law.

President Trump recently admitted that repeal may not take place until 2018 at the earliest. Prominent Republican lawmakers, including Orrin Hatch and Lamar Alexander, have changed their tone to repairing Obamacare rather than repealing it.

What most Americans can agree on is that immediately repealing the law without a replacement is a disastrous idea. Former President Obama has told President Trump that if the Republicans come up with a plan that is better than Obamacare, then Obama will publicly support the plan. Several reports and interviews over the past several weeks have made it clear that Republicans are nowhere close to such a plan for now.

Firstly, while Republicans may be increasingly abandoning their hopes a complete repeal, they are still going to try to kill the law. The first option is a gradual chipping away of the law, quietly rolling back provisions of Obamacare, and maybe or maybe not replacing it with a Republican written provision.

The other option is that Republicans do nothing to update the law, or repeal popular provision while leaving unpopular provisions untouched. Essentially shanking the law on the side, letting the law bleed out while public opinion tanks and then repealing the law. While we have been focused on preventing the immediate repeal, we must also be on the lookout for the long-con.

The discussion we should be having is not “how do we dismantle Obamacare,” we should be having a discussion on we significantly expand the law, far beyond its original intentions. I strongly believe Obamacare should be expanded into a single payer, Medicare for all universal healthcare program.

The idea was a central focus of the Sanders campaign, the idea that healthcare should be a right to all Americans. The Ninth Amendment of the Constitution states that just because a right is not listed in the Constitution, does not mean it is not a right held by the people. The right to healthcare ought to be one of these rights.

Under a system of universal healthcare, from the moment you are born to the second you die you are guaranteed health coverage. No more dealing with private health insurance companies; it is time to create a system in which the main goal of health care is taking care of people, not making a profit.

Health care falls into a category of services in which there should be no profit motive, and is instead handled by government for the public good. Many services in our society are handled this way; the military, police, firefighters, and public schools. It is time for healthcare to lose the profit motives and join those ranks.

The United States is one of the few major industrialized countries to not have universal healthcare. Contrary to Ted Cruz’s individual anecdotes on bad experiences with health services, overall these systems work well, are efficient and the people are greatly satisfied.

Per capita, the United States spends triple what the United Kingdom does on healthcare, and double of what France pays.

Over 80 percent of Canadians believe their health care system is superior to the American system. Universal healthcare programs are popular in every country they are adopted in.

The idea is picking up steam in the US; a recent poll showed 54 percent of Americans supported the idea, 29 percent opposed and 16 percent were not sure. It is reasonable to believe most of the remaining 16 percent would support the idea if given a well-thought out, rational argument for the idea.

It’s time to remove the profit motive from healthcare, and guarantee it as a right to all Americans. Instead of dismantling Obamacare, lets significantly expand it and provide healthcare as right as every other major industrialized country has done.