A little over a month ago the Obama Administration decided to delay the employee mandate portion of Obamacare for another year.
Just last week the Obama Administration also decided to delay the mandatory cap on yearly out-of-pocket costs for individuals.
This has led many opponents of the Affordable Care Act to suggest that the law is indeed a train wreck and is beginning to crumble before it has even been implemented.
Recent polls conducted by CBS, Fox News and NBC/Wall Street Journal have also shown that the majority of Americans now oppose Obamacare.
Needless to say, all of this bad news surrounding Obamacare should be music to the ears of republicans, who have essentially structured their party’s future around repealing Obamcare.
Politically speaking this is a golden opportunity for republicans. The public’s opposition to Obamacare could allow the GOP to not only repeal Obamacare but also increase their control of the House and even make a run at the democrat controlled Senate.
That being said, this is an opportunity that republicans have been squandering for two years and are continuing to squander as we inch ever closer to the implementation of the ACA in October.
It is fine for republicans to say that as a party they want to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. This fires up the republican base and also captures the attention of many independents and even some democrats that may not be thrilled with Obamacare.
But, this GOP catch phrase has two parts to it – “repeal” and “replace” – and this is where the GOP has been falling short in their battle against Obamacare.
The GOP has no real plan for replacing Obamacare, which makes it very difficult for them to win any debate over why we as a nation should repeal Obamacare and go along with the GOP on this matter.
To win any debate and change the hearts and minds of a nation, you need to not only show why the other side is wrong, but also why your way is better.
Most Americans realize that our healthcare system needs a drastic overhaul. While republican politicians will stand up and say “we have the best healthcare system in the world” and their base will cheer as if they truly believe that, deep down we all know that our healthcare system is broken and is nowhere near the best healthcare system in the world.
We currently rank 39th in infant mortality, 43rd in adult female mortality, 42nd in adult male mortality and 36th in life expectancy.
We have an estimated 27,000 American dying each and every year from preventable illnesses due to a lack of coverage/care and the latest World Health Report has us ranked 37th in the world in total level of care…all of this while spending twice as much per person than the next highest spending nation on earth.
These stats are horrific, barbaric and should be downright embarrassing to every single American no matter what political party you consider yourself a member of.
Step one in any process of change is realizing that we have a problem and that we actually need to change; and deep down most Americans have gotten to this point with regards to our healthcare system.
Step two is actually changing it.
Obamacare is a change to the system that will allow more people to receive the medical care they need and will likely stop a good portion of those 27,000 people we have dying every year because they do not have access to the proper care. However, Obamacare does nothing about the issue of cost and could also have a negative impact on the economy, which is precisely why the majority of Americans are against the ACA and are currently open to any other suggestions.
But this is again where the GOP has been falling woefully short in their quest to repeal Obamacare. While much of the nation is open to other suggestions, the GOP has offered no real alternatives, other than to open up competition across state lines which would of course just take our current broken system to much a larger more national scale.
The GOP’s other idea of offering a “tax credit” for insurance payments would essentially be the equivalent of trying to push back a hurricane with a hand fan.
This tax credit idea would mean that a family earning $60K per year and having to pay $20K in health insurance costs would pay taxes on income of $40K instead of $60K, which is of course peanuts in the grand scheme of things. This idea does nothing about the fact that a family earning $60K cannot afford to pay 35% of their pre-tax income on health insurance, it does nothing to address the tens of millions of Americans that cannot get coverage due to pre-exisiting conditions, it does nothing to address the issue of cost discrimination based on age, gender or pre-exisiting conditions, it does nothing to address the issue of insurance companies setting lifetime limits so that if someone gets gravely ill the insurance companies can simply say “sorry, you’ve gone past your limit so we will no longer pay for any of your treatment”, and it does nothing to address the 27,000 Americans we have dying each and every year because they either have a pre-existing condition or simply cannot afford our astronomical health insurance rates…not to mention that this plan offers yet another tax credit to the wealthiest Americans as the GOP wants this tax credit in place for every single American no matter what their income bracket…heck, pretty soon Mitt Romney may not have to pay any taxes at all…
Our current healthcare system has a hug gash in it and is bleeding out. Obamacare attempts to put a dirty Band-Aid on the system which may stop some of the bleeding but will also slowly infect and kill the entire system, while the GOP’s plan of simply opening up competition across state lines and saying “go” or giving “tax credits” while essentially keeping the current system as is will just rip the existing gash open further and cause the entire system to bleed out and die.
In order to win this debate, the GOP needs to show the American public not only why Obamacare is the wrong direction for this nation, but why their plan is better…and in order to do that they actually need to come up with a legitimate plan that addresses our nation’s serious healthcare issues.
But the GOP has two problems on this front – first and foremost, much of the ACA is actually based off of Republican ideas. It was initially the GOP’s idea to mandate that every single American purchase health insurance while insurance companies could then no longer discriminate based on age, pre-existing condition, gender, etc. Much of the ACA also comes from recommendations made by the highly conservative Heritage Foundation. Newt Gingrich attempted to bring an almost identical healthcare bill to the floor several times while he was Speaker of the House and Mitt Romney essentially implemented the ACA in MA long before Obamacare was created. So, one very large challenge for the GOP is that the ACA is more or less their idea to begin with…and now they need to come up with a completely new plan to address our severely broken healthcare system.
The other problem is that the GOP is currently fractured into two sub-parties – the moderate/level headed portion of the party and the extremist Tea Party portion of the party – which makes coming up with any party-wide position nearly impossible right now.
The latest polling numbers show that America is all ears when it comes to healthcare…but until the GOP actually comes up with a legitimate replacement for Obamacare, they will continue to have a very difficult time winning this argument against the democrats.
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