Very nice to see Trumpcare fail, as it would negatively impact tens of millions who’d lose their insurance coverage. And there is other good news. This is a failure for Trump personally on one of his key campaign promises, a failure of the GOP-led Congress, and even a failure for Trump within his own party. I guess the GOP Congress members who turned their backs on their new president have heard from their constituents and know that too many of them rely on the ACA to chop it. When the people stick it to their representatives and say “DO WHAT WE WANT OR WE WON’T RE-ELECT YOU!”, this is democracy at work. Reassuring to see that this still functions occasionally. This fiasco also reminds us that before the bright, shiny object that is Trump entered the GOP primary with headline-grabbing scandals galore, the GOP was already a shambles of infighting between the establishment republicans and the tea party. I also love Trump’s hollow “threat” to his party in Congress–either pass Trumpcare or he’ll move on. Yeah, I guess you kinda had to move on from a battle you lost.
Let’s also rejoice that every democrat voted against it–not like the corporate democrats who often find a way to jump ship to block progressive legislation. Remember Cory Booker’s and several other democrats who voted recently against Sanders’ plan for cheaper drugs? Or Mary Landrieu, Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson’s holding out on the ACA’s passage? But while the left is rejoicing, don’t we also need to look at the fact that Obamacare was merely a step in the right direction which still needs improvement? It’s not a secret–progressives like Elizabeth Warren have admitted it during this recent debate. Before the ACA, our insurance system was the #1 cause of bankruptcy. Unless I’m mistaken, it still is. Far too many people are still drowning in medical debt if not actual bankruptcy. While there were some great things about Obamacare like not getting refused coverage for pre-existing conditions, the plan has plenty of problems. Like rising premiums. And the mandate for those who are forced to pay if they choose to have no insurance. My understanding is that for the ACA to work as intended, more healthy young folks needed to sign up for it to offset costs. They didn’t. So something needs to be recalibrated.
Obamacare wasn’t a far enough-reaching reform–it simply made our existing rotten healthcare system more affordable to more people. It helped low income people who may never have had insurance before, but it also made costs on middle income and higher income folks’ premiums to go up. As Obama left office, premiums in 39 states rose an average 25%. Arizona’s premiums rose by a percentage of triple digits. (According to Politifact.) So how affordable is the Affordable Care Act?
Resisting Trump just scored a big victory. But most agree that Obamacare has issues. So after republican voters have swayed their representatives to cave on repealing Obamacare and admit that it’s something most Americans need, can the left now focus on taking another step towards affirming it’s commitment to universal coverage? 80% of democrats wanted some version of single payer when the ACA was being crafted. Obama never pushed for it. Hillary Clinton was for it before she mysteriously flip-flopped during the election, claiming it was radical and pie-in-the-sky. Yeah, so radical that almost every other industrialized country in the West has it.
If the left doesn’t stand up for something that 80% of it’s supporters advocates, then it’s simply the party of anti-Trump without standing for much. And how did the “I’m not Trump and I’m bringing you more of Obama’s policies” strategy work out with Clinton’s campaign?