Initially, Republicans (GOPers) may only have feared that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) would become a popular political coup on the part of Democrats. The monumental lies GOPers used to discredit Obamacare’s value, and repeated attempts to kill the act before its value to the public became obvious, 54 in all, suggest a deeper truth behind their efforts. Adding further to that perception of a deeper truth is the extent to which their dishonesty extends to their own plan (TrumpCare). Moreover, their frenzied effort to push it through—now that the GOP again enjoys legislative hegemony—suggests that the more rational GOPers hope to cash-in on the glory. They suffer from healthcare envy.
Their healthcare envy has two main obstacles though—and one potentially lethal consequence.
The two obstacles are the opposition to TrumpCare from Democrats, as well as the reactionary right within the GOP, both of which want to kill the legislation. The Democrats of course enjoy the feather in their cap represented by Obamacare’s successes, despite it’s shortfalls. The reactionaries may fear the backlash once the flaws in TrumpCare become evident, but pin their objections to TrumpCare principally on what they see as budget-busting costs.
The potentially lethal consequence is that TrumpCare might pass. It’s unimaginable that the legislation’s proponents are unaware of its inadequacies as a replacement for Obamacare. The growing popularity of Obama’s signature healthcare plan, despite the GOP’s negative spin, is hard to deny.
The shortcomings of TrumpCare begin with the issue of coverage for pre-existing conditions. While Obamacare forbade higher premiums and denial of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, the GOP plan allows “premium rates that do consider the buyer’s health.” It also allows employers who provided insurance only due to the mandate to withhold coverage from employees not already enrolled.
While eliminating the mandates will be a boon for those with no reason for concern over the “affordability” of healthcare, the wealthy, while driving the cost of healthcare up for those already paying high premiums—the very people Paul Ryan uses to deride Obamacare in his deceptive spin on TrumpCare.
Gopers make no mention of any of the great successes of Obamacare. Nor do they mention that their bill shifts significant costs onto the states—many of which are already struggling to balance their budgets. Oh, they tout their “tax credits” as helping keep healthcare affordable, but must surely know it’s a lie.
Even our Dissembler-in-Chief, Donald Trump, has steadily walked back his pledge to repeal, then repeal and replace Obamacare. We may never know whether he is aware of the wave of evidence of Obamacare’s success and popularity, and truly believes it will collapse in utter failure. His “performance” as President should make anyone who has paid attention expect that he will spin the events in such a way that he is insulated from the ramifications of any eventuality.
The Gopers in Congress may not be so fortunate. If TrumpCare fails, they will have to deal with the more irrational segment of their constituency. If it passes, they will have to deal with those hurt by their success.
The GOP missed it’s opportunity after they defeated Hillary Clinton’s efforts to create a universal healthcare program in 1993. They even had a plan proposed by their own Heritage Foundation that was very nearly like that of Obamacare. Had they not been blind to the persistence of the call for universal healthcare, they would have been spared the long term anxiety over their healthcare envy—and the effort they put into repealing it over the past nine years could instead have been put into accomplishing something for the betterment of the people they claim to represent.