It’s time for Democrats to look at Hillary Clinton’s plan to fix the Affordable Care Act (ACA) colloquially known as Obamacare. We know the ACA has issues. What Democrats need to do now that the Trump/Ryan repeal and replace plan went down in flames is explain to voters in a clear and simply way why instead of repealing it we need to keep Obamacare and fix the problems. During the Presidential campaign Hillary Clinton presented a plan to do just that. Democrats need to fully develop that proposal and take it to the people in a series of public forums with a special focus on the states where the ACA in its current form is not working to everyone’s advantage.
According to CNSNews.com an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) showed “Five states—Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming—will have only one insurance company offering plans through the Obamacare health insurance exchange in 2017. In states that use Healthcare.gov, the average number of insurers participating in the marketplace will be 3.9 in 2017 (down from 5.4 companies per state in 2016, 5.9 in 2015 and 4.5 in 2014). They went on to report according to KFF “Marketplace insurer participation in states using Healthcare.gov in 2017 ranges from 1 company in Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming, to 15 companies in Wisconsin.”
We know according to the Quinnipiac poll only 17% of Americans believed the Trump/Ryan bill to repeal and replace the ACA was a good bill. We also know the ACA is now considered a good program by a majority of the nation. So as Democrats we don’t walk away after the defeat of the Trump/Ryan bill but rather we hunker down and solve the problems Trump and the Republicans in Congress couldn’t.
We know when the ACA was passed seven years ago the public was involved and there were multiple hearings in Congress over nearly a year. President Obama spoke to the nation more than once about the bill even though we know not everything he said was accurate including his statements that most people could keep their current policies or doctors. But after seven years we have moved beyond that. Today the ACA is an accepted fact by most of the nation and millions of Americans have been able to get health insurance for the first time because of it. We know it works and we know it needs some improvement.
So Democrats in Congress should look at the plan that Hillary proposed, as they would have had she been President, and use it as they begin to draft a viable plan to tweak the areas of the ACA that need it. The final plan could include a version of a ‘public option’ and we know there are many ways to look at that.
After the Trump/Ryan bill went down to ignominious defeat Trump actually spoke to the nation for a few minutes. He talked about Obamacare being a ‘Democratic’ bill and that it would explode. What he conveniently forgot is he is now the President of everyone with the responsibility to work to ensure that doesn’t happen. Be-that-as-it-may he also said he is waiting for Democrats to come to him.
I believe they should go to him but only after they have unveiled a plan and discussed it with voters. Then if Trump and the GOP Congress won’t work with them they have a bold initiative to campaign on in 2018.
Trump has been all over the place on healthcare including saying “Nobody knew healthcare is so complicated.” He must be the only person in the country who didn’t know it was complicated. Over time Trump has praised and even supported everything from Universal health care to the most recent losing bill. So clearly he has no idea what to do. Democrats do understand healthcare and should develop the plan to fix Obamacare.
The public forums I propose could be conducted through the Democratic National Committee working with state Democratic organizations. That way work on an ACA fix could be part of the plan to build state Democratic organizations. Now that Republicans have failed, and apparently given up, Democrats can be seen as the white knights coming to the rescue for those who are still having problems getting affordable healthcare insurance. There are fixes in Hillary Clinton’s plan to help keep premiums down and deductibles affordable while at the same time keeping the great benefits of Obamacare including letting children stay on their parents insurance till age 26 and covering those with pre-existing conditions. We know it’s not easy, but it’s also not impossible.
Democrats can and should be the ones to fix Obamacare so that all Americans will have good and affordable healthcare.