It might be with Democrats taking the side of Republicans on an important aspect of the law
Is the Affordable Care Act in Trouble? It seems to be with this rather unnecessary fight over people getting to keep their old junk health insurance plans. The Democrats are poised to help Republicans poke a huge hole in the newly implemented healthcare law. When will the Democrats learn to stop siding with Republicans?
The Democratic Party and Obama are allowing a rather detrimental narrative of the ACA to take root. The Republicans have made a huge issue over people being forced off of their old plans. Keep in mind it is less than 5% of the population who are being forced off of old substandard health plans that did not meet the minimum coverage regulations of the ACA. I’ll say it again; these were real shitty plans.
The Democrats were doing so well. They crushed the Republicans in 2012, they stood strong against Republicans over the government shutdown and debt ceiling fight, but now Obama and the Democrats are allowing the narrative they fought to establish to change back in Republican hands.
Understand, I can’t emphasize enough how awful these handful of healthcare plans are. Many of them aren’t even really insurance in the typical sense. Instead these plans merely pay a small cash amount back to the policy holder when at the hospital. However, if the policy is only for say $50, and your doctor/hospital bill costs you $300, then that adds to staggering out-of pocket costs.
Republicans are raising holy hell over “people losing their insurance.” These guys haven’t cared about people losing their insurance in decades! How many years have gone by with the old system, hundreds of thousands losing their insurance and thousands more dying as a result? Republicans never said a word about it.
I must admit however, that the ACA seems to be really unraveling. Unless Obama and the Democrats get a grip, then Republicans (the minority party) are going to set the agenda in Washington. Why did we elect a Democratic President again? Obama and the Democrats are now fighting one another over the relatively small pools of plans being canceled for their substandard practices. In effect, they are actually delivering the Republicans a victory when there was no need to grant them one.
Obama should have owned the plans being canceled, but not the way he has done it so far. Politics is politics. Presidents will lie and campaign, but then the rubber meets the road in D.C. and things become more complex. He needs to emphasize the much better health plans that they can sign up for. Some cases slightly more expensive, but also far broader and concrete coverage.
Obama should have gone out and said the ACA was getting the better plans, and run adds on it day and night. Speak round the clock, get back on the campaign trail to every city and town possible and repeat it again and again; “The Republicans want you to keep bad plans. I’m getting you a better plan.” Alas, personally I would have done a lot of things differently.
For starters, I would rather see a single payer healthcare system. It is simply incomprehensible to me that healthcare is even considered a privilege. Yet that’s exactly what America’s right-wing and corporate culture see it as. It’s so odd how that works out. Getting sick is not a privilege, yet the ability to treat it is.
It’s attached to the whole “bums, pay your own way” attitude by conservatives. Very easy to say when you’re a Republican Congressman, who gets taxpayer funded healthcare for life, as well as a large taxpayer funded pension (also for life).
I think it’s time Obama and the Democrats stop agreeing with the Republican nonsense. If they want the ACA to survive, they gave to throw their full weight behind it. If the Republicans come up with a talking point, counter it with the truth of the matter and drive it home to the American people. Obama is the president, he has the bully pulpit! Use it! Once again, Obama’s centrist colors have come out and leave it to him and the Democrats to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.