The fate of the Affordable Care Act rests with Republican senators in Congress.
At this point, those fiery campaign pledges to dismantle the act, commonly known as Obamacare, appear doused in cold waters of reality. For some GOP senators, the plan coming out of the closed-door meetings doesn't go far enough in gutting or destroying Obamacare. Others have found that many of their constituents are dependent on former President Obama's signature plan to have life-sustaining health care.
Put bluntly, it looks like several Republican members of Congress don't hate Obamacare. What they would rather see is improvement made to the plan to make it even more effective.
U.S. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are fellow moderates who've raised concerns about the Senate health bill for a variety of reasons, particularly how it could strip insurance coverage from so many people. Several of the more conservative Senate members are also having doubts.
On Monday, after the release of a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis that the bill will leave 22 million more people uninsured over a decade, Collins announced she would oppose an important procedural vote on the legislation this week. The number was one million less people than the CBO calculated for the recent House-passed health care bill.
The non-partisan CBO is a valuable asset in determining how legislation will affect people through cost. That report has caused a strong current of hesitation among GOP lawmakers.
The CBO also found almost $200 billion in savings with the Senate plan, which was more than expected. It’s money that GOP leaders are looking to divvy up among senators’ priorities to possibly secure votes for the imperiled bill, according to POLITICO.
This brings the debate over a national health care plan down to some simple truths.
Many Republicans ran for office shouting the party-prescribed rant to overturn Obamacare. The plan has been labeled as too expensive, social welfare and many other adjectives. What those members of Congress didn't consider during the heat of the campaign is that people are using Obamacare because it is the most affordable option available and respects pre-existing medical conditions that are typically used by insurance companies to deny coverage to many Americans.
There is no doubt there are flaws in Obamacare. However, the hostility toward Obama's national health care plan has not been based on fact, reason or compassion. The plan has unfortunately been painted unfairly as somehow making the nation become some kind of evil socialist state.
The fact that forms of socialist or collective programs exist, such as Social Security, is often ignored by idealists. Most people would not survive retirement without Social Security checks. There is a real concern that a lot of people will also not survive long without a national health plan.
We understand such plans cost money. But we think a healthier population is better than reducing spending at the expense of American citizens' health.
Republicans, as well as Democrats, need to demand that improving Obamacare is likely a better option than tossing it away. Improving on the original intent of the health care plan would be a service to many Americans.