After a stinging defeat of their first attempt to dismantle the ACA and replace it with a Republican-approved healthcare bill, Republicans are trying again, this time abandoning the most popular aspect of the ACA in order to cut costs.
As Republicans quickly learned during their first attack on the ACA, the one thing that the American people simply will not tolerate is any tampering with an element of the Affordable Care Act that has been vital to so many: a mandate which requires insurance companies to cover all paying customers, regardless of their existing health issues.
When this element of the ACA went into effect, millions who had been previously denied healthcare on the basis of their health were allowed to have coverage once again. Once the American public became acquainted with this wonderful feature, they became unwilling to lose it.
Republicans have proposed legislation to gut this aspect of the ACA not to appease Americans, but to hopefully win the support of some of the more resistant Republicans who argued that the ACA replacement first proposed by House Republicans didn’t go far enough in gutting the program.
Even as a handful of Republicans have indicated the possibility of agreeing to this new plan, more moderate Republicans understand what the party and the country as a whole stands to lose if they dedicate themselves to this platform.
Unfortunately for Republicans, it appears clear that one cannot require the free market of insurance companies to cover all people regardless of their health while not also requiring that all Americans buy access to healthcare coverage. One cannot exist without the other because a pool of healthy contributors is needed in order to cover the pool of chronic sufferers.
Of course, Republicans’ number one complaint about Obamacare was the mandate requiring all Americans to have health insurance. It was a restriction on freedom, the argued. It was un-American and anti-capitalist. Now they clearly see that what they attacked was a necessary step in moving forward.
So what can they do? Apparently, pretend like millions of Americans will be a-okay with losing the pre-existing clause of the ACA. In their newly-proposed healthcare plan, insurance companies are no longer required to cover all Americans regardless of condition. Basically, they would have us return to a pre-Obamacare health system, an outcome no one is going to be happy with.
Pressure from the White House is certainly behind this new hair-brained scheme as House Republicans scramble to give something, anything, to the president in order to replace his predecessors’ popular plan.