The road to repealing and replacing Obamacare hit another setback, as the GOP failed to secure enough votes to advance its own version of health care reform. In seven years that elapsed since President Obama signed his health bill into law, GOP did little to craft a plan that both moderates and conservatives could support. As a result, Speaker Paul Ryan had no choice, but to end his push for the American Health Care Act.
While Democrats celebrate, there are no winners, as premiums will continue to rise, quality of coverage will continue to diminish, and Obamacare’s state exchanges continue to fail. Additionally, the job killing regulations keeping people on the sidelines will continue to impede a potentially strong Trump recovery. Even with a political play in hand, failure to enact a replacement is not an option.
Since the 2010 midterms, conservative voters and moderates voiced their opposition to Obamacare, shifting control of the House of Representatives to the GOP. In 2014, voters gave the GOP complete control of Congress, resulting in passing of a repeal bill that President Obama would never sign. Now with control of the White House, elected officials cannot expect voters to tolerate making campaign promises that never come to fruition.
Fortunately, there is still time to make good on their promise. Despite strong internal opposition, the American Health Care Act was a decent first step, but not an effective replacement. Ideally, the replacement legislation would remove market impediments that keep premiums high, eliminate politically charged regulations, and expand choice. Furthermore, government should provide incentives not coercion for participating in programs.
People should be able to get the policies they prefer, whether it be ones offered prior to Obamacare or ones provided under Obamacare. Under Obamacare, many lost preferred plans, forced into plans that shifted power to people inadequate in medical knowledge and negotiations. Like it or hate it, insurance companies specialize in effectively negotiating prices down. Ensuring savings makes it to the consumers should be the focus.
Although Democrats readily admit Obamacare is unsustainable, the GOP should expect resistance from the Democrats, as Dems undoubtedly prefer to protect the legacy of the former president over the welfare of their constituents. Still not ready to accept the 2016 results, Democrats will provide little use other than the creation of conspiracy theories to discredit Trump. Democrats did not consult with the GOP in crafting and implementing the unpopular program, nor will they assist in its replacement.
No leader wants to lose a battle. Although it is better to lose a battle to avoid losing the war. Repealing and replacing Obamacare was never going to be easy. While recovering from self-inflicted wounds, the GOP needs to work on a health care reform bill that accomplishes lowering the cost of health care and ridding the economy of harmful job killing regulations.