May 9, 2017
Liberal America is losing its collective mind today, after the House passed its heavily bandaged measure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare advocates are desperately looking to the more moderate Senate chamber for a stay of execution, but here in the radical center we think it’s time for the ACA to die. A pillow over its head should do it, but shoot it if you have to. You can bill us for the bullet.
Obamacare was doomed from the start by its lack of bipartisan conviction, and so is the new plan. Sooner or later, we need to realize that these pseudo-voluntary, half-measure, shove-it-through-and-hope-everybody-plays plans won’t work. Then we can kill them all off, get over our partisan selves, and work together on a comprehensive plan that will work.
A universal healthcare plan requires universal participation. Providers have to accept fixed, negotiated prices, insurance carriers have to stop profiteering, and citizens all have to participate. None of those things are part of Obamacare, and none of these things are a part of Ryancare.
In order to pass political muster, the American Care Act had to grant concessions to drug companies, foregoing price controls that would reign in the highest drug prices in the world. Private insurance companies and conservative state governments were not required to participate, and many did not. The plan was predicated on heavy participation from young, healthy Americans. Given the option to pay hefty premiums or small penalties, most of them accepted the penalties.
The new plan is even worse. The American Healthcare Act is basically Obamacare with its heart ripped out, cut up and fed to the GOP’s richest donors. But there is a silver lining: the public hates the new plan, and they have grown to appreciate Obamacare for at least making an effort. Every day that the GOP trumpets the new plan is a day that the public hates them for it, and there are midterm elections next year.
In the long run, we need to stop pretending that these duct-taped half measures will ever work. The death of Obamacare is a step in the process, one of the early steps down what promises to be a long path to universal care. The sooner it’s in the ground, the sooner we can get on with it.