As promised in the vigorous election cycle of 2016, Congressional Republicans took the first substantive step towards their long-awaited goal — repeal Obamacare. In a House vote that resulted in a 227-198 victory for the conservative majority, the now adopted budget resolution would let “Republicans push a repeal bill through the Senate without having to face a Democratic filibuster,” according to Bloomberg.
The Affordable Care Act — widely seen as the hallmark legacy of President Obama — was a resounding triumph for Democrats, who had pushed for national healthcare coverage. Such a measure would align American healthcare policy with that of western Europe and other prominent nations. For the Democrats, this was an implementation of social justice against a broader framework of combating discrimination — whether real or perceived.
Of course, Republicans and conservatives had a different set of opinions. They viewed Obamacare as a unwieldy government albatross that only served to make confusing healthcare laws and policies ever more convoluted. While Obamacare saw the level of uninsured Americans drop to 8.9% in the first half of 2016 from 16% in 2010, the manner in which the law impacted people rankled Republicans.
According to Bloomberg, Obamacare “faced criticism for climbing premiums, costs that some found to be too high, and its requirement that everyone have health insurance or pay a penalty.” There were personal criticisms regarding the quality of care, or whether or not “if you like your plan you can keep it.” Even President Obama acknowledged that that was a promise gone too far: “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me.”
It’s no wonder then that Donald Trump would make Obamacare a sticking point throughout his campaign, and in the current context of the political environment. In a tweet, Trump declared: “The Unaffordable Care Act will soon be history!”
Yes indeed — Obamacare and the legacy of President Obama will be flushed down the toilet. The campaign promise of “repeal Obamacare” is gaining traction. Republicans can finally be free of the nightmare of the Affordable Care Act.
But there’s an old adage in life — be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Donald Trump and the Republicans have secured a profound and paradigm-shifting victory in the 2016 election, but what will they do with it? Whether he likes it or not, Donald Trump will eventually have to worry about his legacy. Certainly, it cannot be one of denouncing liberal policies but affecting no real change.
Bear in mind that just “repeal Obamacare” is no real progress. Millions of Americans will be affected by the repeal. Worse yet from the professional Republicans’ point of view, if they bungle the process, this will only be used as weapons by the Democrats. In a couple of years, the Washington landscape could look radically different.
This will be a delicate process. Donald Trump needs to spend more time creating a solution — anyone can dump a problem. Inevitably, the Trump administration will have to make good on promised policies to loosen regulations. These onerous burdens combined with insane taxation laws that crimp margins for healthcare providers.
At the same time, Republicans cannot engage in crony capitalism — or even the appearance of it. A fair solution has to be reached, one that will allow corporations to profitably carry out its businesses, but one that will also protect patients’ rights.
It’s not an easy task, by any means. Then again, we didn’t vote for a president because he can only do easy.