Republicans campaigned last year on the promise to complete repeal the Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010 by President Barack Obama. Commonly known as Obamacare, the so-called health care reform has been an epic failure. The system has lead to higher premiums and ridiculously high deductibles in the few health insurance plans available at the exchanges created under Obamacare. Many of the state-based exchanges have failed badly, including those in Oregon and Maryland. The American people have never supported, as shown by polls, Obamacare and large majorities opposed it before Congress passed it in 2010.
Since it passed, Republicans majorities in the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speakers John Boehner (R-OH) and Paul Ryan (R-WI), have passed legislation to repeal Obamacare more than 40 times, while Obama was still the president. Knowing it might not pass in the Senate, and would not be signed by President Obama, Republicans in Congress seemed to find it quite easily to repeated pass Obamacare repeal bills. Strong majorities of the public support those attempts every time.
The election last Fall changed everything on this issue. Republicans not only held majorities in both the House and the Senate, but Republican nominee Donald Trump won the presidential election over the favored candidate (according to the polls and pundits), Democratic Party nominee, and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Surprising most of us, the American people elected Trump to the presidency.
Clearly that changed one major consideration, that unlike Obama, a President Trump would clearly sign legislation to repeal Obamacare. But that’s exactly what the American people want, and voted for in the elections last Fall. So clearly that is what we should be getting. But not so fast. First Republicans, as soon as they realized Trump would be president, quickly switched to talk of “repealing and replacing” Obamacare rather than simply repealing Obamacare. Then earlier this month, they released the bill, and their plan, calling it the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
But the AHCA is not a plan to repeal Obamacare, it’s being called Obamacare Lite itself by many critics of the GOP health care plan. This plan keeps most aspects and features of Obamacare in place. In doing that, it is clearly not repealing Obamacare as Republicans did more than 40 times in the House in the past, and promised they would do if the American people elected Trump as president to sign the repeal legislation.
The American people elected Trump, and Republicans in Congress, at least the GOP leadership, are not pushing a bill to repeal Obamacare. Instead they are going forward with Obamacare Lite, breaking a key promise they make to voters in the election campaign of last year.