What happens to Obamacare now?



The cartoon depicts Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. According to a March 23 Quinnipiac poll, 17 percent of Americans approved of the American Health Care Act, and 56 percent disapproved.

JOSHUA DAUSENER, Copy Editor | [email protected]

On Friday, the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, ended in disaster. Republican leadership pulled their bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), at the last minute when it became clear they did not have the votes needed to pass the bill. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said to the press afterwards, “Obamacare is the law of the land,” a sentence nobody was expecting to ever come out of Ryan’s mouth back in November.

First, take a moment and consider the ineptitude that took place. For seven years, Republicans have done nothing but trash Obamacare and promise to get rid of it. Getting rid of Obamacare has been a central issue in four elections, and was a major factor in Republicans taking control of the House and Senate during Obama’s presidency. Seven years, and this is the plan they give us. Sad!

A lot of the blame for the bill’s failure is being directed at Ryan. I do not think Ryan is at fault; the Republican Party is simply too divided on the issue of healthcare. A healthcare bill that satisfies both moderates and the far-right seems to be impossible regardless of leadership. Party division was the cause for the demise of the AHCA, not inept leadership from Ryan.

The fact that Trump and Ryan pushed this bill so hard, despite the bill’s unpopularity with the public, is disappointing. A Quinnipiac poll released last Thursday found that just 17 percent of Americans supported the Republican bill. Polling has also shown that Obamacare is relatively popular, and every provision is popular with Americans, with the exception of the individual mandate.

Was this bill, a bill that was going to provide a massive tax break to the top 2 percent and throw 24 million American off of their health insurance, reflective of the president’s inauguration speech when he said, “The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country […] and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land […] the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer”?

Last week’s collapse of the AHCA was something to celebrate, but the Republican effort to gut Obamacare is far from over. The party will now move on from traditional repeal and replace to sabotage.

Obamacare is a massive, complicated law with a ton of moving parts. The law could be compared to road infrastructure. Our road system works out very well, but only when it is updated and maintained. Potholes must be filled, snow must be plowed and old pavement must be replaced. Otherwise, the road infrastructure will fall into disrepair and will no longer work.

Obamacare is now being overseen by a hostile administration that is full of people eager to destroy the bill. The administration may stop maintaining the roads; the president and Republicans have signaled they will do exactly that. After the AHCA was pulled, Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted “Next move on health care — Collapse and Replace.”

President Trump told the press in the Oval Office, “I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode.” Trump also said, “Obamacare unfortunately will explode, it’s going to have a very bad year.”

Republicans have set the stage. They will fail to fix Obamacare, let the bill slowly bleed out and blame Democrats for the shortcomings of the bill. There is little denial that Obamacare needs some upkeep; Americans overwhelmingly support fixing Obamacare.

The president is clearly not fulfilling his pledge to look out for the middle and working class in regard to healthcare policy. The public overwhelming opposed the ACHA, but that did not stop Trump from aggressively pushing the bill anyway.

The public supports fixing Obamacare, yet Trump has indicated he intends to shank the law and watch it bleed out. How Trump handles Obamacare over the next four years will be a huge indication of his true intentions; does he truly want to help out the American people, or is he out to score political points?

If Trump truly wants to help out the American people, he should do what he promised when he ran for president in 2000. Trump ran on a platform for universal healthcare 17 years ago.

In 1999, Trump told Larry King of CNN, “If you can’t take care of your sick in the country, forget it, it’s all over […] I believe in universal healthcare.” Trump wrote in 2000, “The Canadian plan also helps Canadians live longer and healthier than America […] We need, as a nation, to reexamine the single-payer plan, as many individual states are doing.”