I’ve debated writing about Obamacare for a while because it seemed hopeless, but mounting political pressure and the holidays have me feeling optimistic. Bear with me—this is a long one.
Republicans in Congress are so eager to repeal Obamacare that they have vowed to get a bill on Trump’s desk by inauguration day that would repeal Obamacare and give them up to 3 years to figure out a replacement. The January 20th deadline may seem a little ambitious, but why wait when they can just drop the “replace” half of their promise to “repeal and replace?”
This approach would give Republicans 3 years to craft something to fill the gaping hole they will have left in United States health care. But while Republicans pop some bubbly to celebrate finally dismantling Obamacare, 30 million Americans will lose coverage.
Even with the 3-year delay, there will be immediate effects. Repealing Obamacare without offering a viable substitute will double the rate of uninsured in America in only two years. An overwhelming majority of those who would lose coverage are uneducated, working-class Americans—the very same people who voted Trump into office.
If that doesn’t seem like a blatant betrayal of America’s trust, try this one: Repealing Obamacare would also offer wealthy Americans the largest, most permanent tax cut proposed yet. This is because, by repealing Obamacare, Republicans are also repealing the tax levied to pay for it all. By eliminating this tax, the top 0.1% would get a tax break upwards of $154,000 a year, while the poorest 60% of Americans would have to pay more.
So when Republicans say that health care spending is out of control, what they’re really saying is they would rather put that money in the pockets of America’s wealthiest citizens than use it to cover your health care costs. If that doesn’t sit well with you, you might want to stop reading because it gets worse.
Let’s assume Republicans go through with repealing Obamacare and find themselves four years from now figuring out how to reform health care. Inevitably, the question of how to pay for it all will come up and their likely answer is this: cut Medicare and cut Medicaid.
So even though the marketplace will spiral out of control, millions will lose coverage, hospitals will cut services, and the ultra-wealthy will get a tax cut at the expense of every-day Americans, at least the Republicans can say they won?
But I promised you guys I would only write about things where there is opportunity to act, so here it is:
While GOP lawmakers have been celebrating their electoral victory, Americans are enrolling in health insurance plans in record-breaking numbers. This is placing huge political pressure on Republicans in Congress and they’re feeling it.
Yesterday, GOP lawmakers started discussing the possibility of leaving some of the taxes levied through Obamacare intact, at least for the time being. This would not protect the 29 million Americans who risk losing coverage, but it would produce a revenue stream for future health care reform that could save Medicare and Medicaid funding.
And recently, a number of Republican lawmakers have expressed hesitancy to repeal the law with such a long delay and no replacement in mind. With Republicans holding a 52-48 majority, only four members need to oppose this bill to stop the Republican party from eliminating health care from millions of Americans.
We have some powerful allies here—insurance companies who stand to lose 22 million enrollees, hospital organizations that are afraid of an “unprecedented public health crisis,” and thirty million Americans who are feeling the stress of losing coverage.
Get to writing! Tell your senators that this is a law that affects your life and the lives of your friends and families. Let them know that your health is not a political tool and that repealing Obamacare will have real consequences for thirty million real people.