Policy or politics. After 7 years of railing against the Affordable Care Act it’s now clear that congressional republicans and the white house did not have a viable repeal and replacement plan of their own. The spit-balled together house bill (American Health Care Act), which was pulled before a floor vote was taken, represents a growing theme of politics over policy. As evidence that the white house is concerned about the growing cost of healthcare and individuals freedom to make their own health related decisions, the house spent 17 legislative days devoted to AHCA. By contrast the Affordable Care Act took 187 legislative days from start to finish, and even Bush’s Medicare Part D initiative took 166 days.
It was never actually about improving healthcare it was about erasing the achievement of the first black president.
The Trump administration pressured house republicans to vote on AHCA before 3/23/17 – which Trump later demanded that a vote be taken the next day Friday the 24th. Trump specifically chose this date because Obama signed ACA into law March 23, 2010. This artificial deadline is not grounded in any legitimate legislative timeline rather it is an attempt to figuratively whiteout the date and time stamps of Obama’s achievements and replace them with Trump’s name.
If congress is unable to write-over Obama’s time stamp then well, Trump will move on to other things where he is able to (figuratively speaking) erase and undo Obama from history.
Remember, Trump spent the majority of Obama’s presidency trying to convince the American people that Obama was not a legitimate president based on patently false claims about his birth certificate. Like a badge of honor, the GOP during this same time wore the title of the “opposition party.” Which really can be translated to mean they will push back against anything Obama does – not because they have a better plan i.e. healthcare – but simply because Obama is the one who introduced it. It’s like a store not accepting my money, not because my money is any different than the person in front or behind me, but for no other reason other than I am me – which just so happens to be black.
If Obama had signed ACA in June or July would Trump still have wanted AHCA to clear the house by March 23rd? Of course not, Trump’s main campaign promise was that the “first thing” he would do in office is “immediately” repeal and replace ACA. Yet 17 legislative days later repealing and replacing ACA is no longer a priority for the white house. Not because repealing and replacing ACA can’t be done with more planing and compromise, rather, because the optics of “destroying” Obama’s signature achievement are no longer there.
Trump’s healthcare policy goal was more comprehensive coverage at a cheaper price that covers more people. Yet the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the AHCA framework would cause 24 million fewer people to be without insurance by 2026 and the elderly would be responsible for paying 5 times more than younger people. Reforming healthcare was never about fighting for the flyover state Trump supporters, it was a de facto tax break for the rich.
Stop hiding behind code and false promises. Stop pushing the false narrative that you want to make other peoples lives better, when you are really kicking 24 million people off insurance and exploiting grandma and grandpa’s old age, while giving yourself and your rich friends tax breaks. Trump’s beef with ACA is that a black man’s name is attached to it. As is the case with many of the Obama era policies Trump would like removed.
Using the previous analogy, Obama’s money has no value at Trump’s hotel. In the minds of Trump and the GOP black people, just like ACA, can’t be reformed, salvaged or fixed. They’re forever stained with the (racist and wrong) designations of violence and destruction given to them by generations of old.
The opposition party is not ready to govern because outside of telling grandma and grandpa to pay 5 times more than everyone else they don’t have many independent policy positions that benefit Trump voters. Even Trump’s infrastructure ideas, which completely go against conservatives dislike for government spending and higher taxes, takes a page right out of Obama’s 2011 infrastructure proposal which was stonewalled by a republican senate – Obama tried 3 different times to get his $60 billion infrastructure bill through congress and was stonewalled by a Republican senate for being too costly. Obama’s proposal was paid for by placing a 0.7% tax on people making a million dollars or more. By contrast Trump wants to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure and he expects private business to do the work for free or tax the public until the $1 trillion is paid. It will be pure comedy watching senate republicans try to justify passing Trump’s proposal which is more expensive than the one they shot down for being too expensive.
See it’s not just Trump, whose behavior should jump out at you as flagrantly vile. Congressional republicans have for years resisted Obama for no other reason other than he’s Obama, a black man, the first black president. They don’t have operable alternative solutions that objective nonpartisan analyst conclude would benefit the constituents they represent. In fact, during the AHCA house debates, every individual who supported the legislation was told exactly how many people from their respective districts would loose coverage if they voted in favor of the proposed legislation. Despite being told exactly how bad things would be for real people in their home states republicans blindly charged forward, leaving us with great quotes from privileged white males like this one – Pat Roberts (R-Kan) “I wouldn’t want to lose my mammogram.” Breast cancer prevention must be too politically correct for Mr. Roberts.
As great as it would be to have a substantive discussion on why the GOP health plan (and many others) doesn’t actually help the people that support Trump, the fact of the matter is they already know it doesn’t help the people that voted for Trump. That is, unless Trump supporters also want to eliminate every footnote in american history associated with the first black president.