When you have a reality-show star as the incoming POTUS, I suppose it only makes sense that the fight over Obamacare would play out like a reality show, with Donald Trump taking his argument to Twitter while Barack Obama and Mike Pence meet behind closed doors with their respective parties not to fix our nation’s health care system, but to ensure that the other party gets blamed when it comes unraveled.
The situation is this right now: The cost of healthcare is rising. However, thanks to Obamacare, over 20 million more people have been covered, people under the age of 26 can be insured under their parents’ health care plans, and this is the biggie: Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage based on a preexisting condition. This is huge because 50 percent of Americans have an ailment that could qualify as a preexisting condition. If the GOP repeals Obamacare, there’s a good chance that we go back to a time when insurance companies can disqualify folks for having cancer.
This not only affects the folks on Obamacare, it affects everyone. Without Obamacare, if you have a preexisting condition, you’re sh*t out of luck if you want health insurance.
Everyone likes the fact that we can get coverage for preexisting conditions, and everyone likes the fact that kids under 26 can be covered under their parents insurance plans. However, the GOP doesn’t like the fact that there is a mandate requiring that everyone buy an insurance plan or else pay a fine. Nevertheless, there’s a shitton of healthy people in this country who prefer to pay the fine rather than pay for the far more expensive health insurance, because if you don’t make a lot of money, the fine is like $700 a year minimum, while insurance is more expensive.
However, without the mandate, insurance companies cannot afford to cover preexisting conditions. As much as the GOP would like it to be true, one cannot exist without the other.
The GOP wants to repeal Obamacare because 1) they are the GOP and they don’t like the government interfering with private industry, 2) they don’t care about the poor people who wouldn’t have health insurance without Obamacare, and 3) Obamacare has a lot of problems, not least of which is that the premiums are rising because insurance companies can’t afford to continue covering those preexisting conditions without everyone signing up, and not everyone is signing up.
The predicament for the GOP is this: They want to repeal Obamacare, but Trump wants to ensure that insurance companies continue providing coverage for preexisting conditions. That’s not going to happen without the mandate, and with the mandate, you’ve basically got Obamacare. So, if Trump and the GOP repeal Obamacare, 20+ million folks lose their health insurance (and many, many of these people are Trump supporters) and we all lose our right to get coverage if we have a preexisting condition.
Do you hear that, healthy 28-year-old who doesn’t give a sh*t about health insurance right now? If Obamacare is repealed, and you get diabetes because your entire diet consists of Doritos and Snackwells, you are f*cked.
So, Obama and the Democrats got together yesterday and came up with a plan. It’s basically this: If the GOP repeals Obamacare, fuck ‘em. Let them own it. They break it, they own it, and when America finds out what repealing Obamacare really means for everyone (remember, 50 percent of us have preexisting conditions), there’s going to be a lot of people pissed off at the GOP. It could cost them the midterms. And if they repeal Obamacare without a replacement, it could send the entire insurance industry into a death spiral.
Politically, casting blame on the GOP is a smart move for Obama and the Dems. More importantly, by saddling the GOP with the blame, Obama might be able to prevent the GOP from repealing Obamacare because they might be too scared to do so, especially with polls showing that only 26 percent of Americans want Obamacare repealed now.
But if the GOP doesn’t repeal Obamacare, Trump and Co., are basically saying, “Let it fall under its own weight.” And the thing is, there are a lot of problems with Obamacare that need to be fixed, and it might fall under its own weight if they are not resolved.
So, essentially, we have the Democrats saying, “You break it, you own it” to the GOP, and the GOP potentially saying, “Fuck you. We’ll let it crash and burn and stick you with the blame.”
Neither of these choices is a good solution. Both of these choices fuck over the American people.
Nevertheless, the partisan side of me is like, “Do it, GOP. Repeal it. I dare your ass. The midterms will be a bloodbath. KENTUCKY WILL GO BLUE.”
But that’s not a solution to the nation’s health care problems. That’s not a solution that’s going to help any of us.
The only solution is for the GOP and the Dems to come together and fix what’s ailing Obamacare, to expand it, to increase the fine on the mandate, offer more subsidies to low-income folks, and bring even more healthy people on board to make healthcare more affordable to everyone.
It may require an unpopular tax hike, but there is a solution. However, the solution would require both parties coming together and agreeing to both take the credit and the blame. Unfortunately, in this era of hyper-partisanship, that seems unlikely, which leaves us all stuck with both sides playing chicken with our goddamn lives. We got folks dying of cancer out here, and they’re playing politics.
You see how f*cked we are?