Opinion: The big question about health care is now answered

(AP)

The leading Republican candidates for the open 6th Congressional District this week reiterated their pledge to go to Washington and rid the country of the scourge of Obamacare.

“I’m going to deliver finally on repealing and replacing Obamacare,” said Karen Handel, as if she alone could pull off what the election of a GOP House, Senate and president has so spectacularly failed to accomplish.

“To stop, and not move forward repealing and replacing Obamacare is wrong,” said former state Sen. Judson Hill, the man who in 2007 championed state legislation that read as a virtual blueprint for what later became Obamacare, right down to government-run exchanges and individual mandates to buy insurance.

Up in Washington, House Speaker Paul Ryan was making similar noises, warning his fellow Republicans that if they didn’t come up with a deal, President Trump might start making deals with the Democrats.

It’s enough to make a person laugh. For all intents and purposes, the health-insurance war is over and the conservatives lost. All that remains is negotiating the terms of their surrender, and the sooner they come to that realization, the better it will be for their party and more importantly for the country as a whole.

It is over because the American people, as a whole, now overwhelming accept the basic argument that some form of health insurance is a necessity and a right, even for those who cannot afford it for themselves. An overwhelming and growing majority of Americans also agree that government should be the last-ditch guarantor of that right to health care. You can cite a lot of reasons for the GOP’s spectacular, ongoing failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, including its own incompetence and arrogance, but the main reason the effort failed is because voters will not accept a plan that strips health insurance from 24 million of their fellow Americans, and they have made that fact known in no uncertain terms.

In a Pew poll taken in January, for example, 60 percent of Americans agreed that “it’s the responsibility of the federal government to make sure that all Americans have health care coverage.” Just 38 percent disagreed. More to the point, 52 percent of Republican voters making less than $30,000 a year also agree with that statement, up from 31 percent a year ago. Those are the folks whose lives are at stake in this debate, the people who have benefited from having health insurance. They are also the voters likely to switch sides if that access to health care is taken away from them.

In whatever passes for his heart, Trump knows that. He ran throughout the GOP primaries and in the general election on the promise of repealing Obamacare, with the important additional promise that he would still provide coverage to everybody. He had no idea how that promise might be kept; at that point, he was still many months from grasping the amazing fact that hey, health care is complicated. But Trump at least understood the goal and how deeply the American majority now bought into it.

Take Medicaid expansion, a key accomplishment of the Affordable Care Act that has helped insure some 11 million lower-income Americans and also has helped to stabilize the health-care industries in the 31 states that have embraced it. When the House GOP announced plans to reverse that provision, it inspired a broad backlash from Republican governors, hospital groups, the American Medical Association and just about anybody involved in the health-care debate from a non-ideological perspective. The 17 percent public-approval rate for the GOP bill can largely be attributed to its proposed dismantling of Medicaid, and even if the bill had managed to pass the House, the Senate would never have accepted that provision.

Look what has happened since the House bill crashed and burned. By 25-14 in the Senate and 81-44 in the House, the GOP-dominated Kansas Legislature voted this week to expand Medicaid in their state, forcing the hapless Sam Brownback to veto it. Similar expansion efforts are underway in Maine, Virginia, North Carolina and even here in Georgia.

There’s no going back on this. If conservatives offer ways to do it better, cheaper, more efficiently or effectively, that’s a useful and necessary debate. If they succeed in sabotaging Obamacare, as they are clearly trying to do, the replacement plan is still going to be a plan that ensures Americans are covered by health insurance.
That part of the debate is over.

Reader Comments 0

905 comments
mj725
mj725

He was a great "kid" always trying to make things better for others and continues that--he's never met Pelosi and dislikes those on both sides that practice partisanship over legislative compromise--those attack adds were financed by big brother who was alarmed that his common sense "work together' message was getting popular with the electorate--Liberal Conservative--may be time to get past labeling and get good government--

MyBad
MyBad

Jon Ossoff is a cringe-worthy candidate that only idiots will support because Pelosi sez so. Wow. Can't you libs do any better than that? He's going to get killed in the run-off. You know the old saying about 'lipstick on a pig'.....

And, in other news, my husband will now have to find another way to get to work next Monday.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Reed holds press conference, says for 3 billion he can order a Streetcar line around the I-85 bridge collapse with connection to the Beltline, Midtown dog walkers go crazy with anticipation  

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Ossoff says Russians behind bridge fire, he will produce documentary film, says the world needs to know. 

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Jon Ossoff puts out massive fire under I-85 bridge adding to his list of accomplishments

mal20001
mal20001

Hey, I like it but then I'm a member of the Freedom Caucas and hate both political parties!

JayBook
JayBook moderator

Flynn sheets.

MyBad
MyBad

@RufusATL @JayBook No he won't. In fact, he will categorically deny that there was any collusion. That will put a big smile on my face, Jay. How about yours?

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Philo_Farnsworth 

Atlanta restaurants, businesses will suffer.

 Philo ain't even gonna try to go down there unless he has to.

I'm almost sure they will survive without your presence, although the people you visit while cruising behind shopping centers will almost surely miss you.

gotalife
gotalife

Remember when President Obama made BP pay for their oil spill down here?


We need to do the same thing to fund climate change disasters.


Claw back those record profits to a clean up fund of a trillion


Make the right first responders to get some skin in the game.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@gotalife 

Remember when President Obama made BP pay for their oil spill down here

-

Pfft. The way he made the banksters responsible for the mortgage collapse 'pay' for their fraudulent activities? 

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@gotalife @Donnie_Pinko 

They paid modest fines that were written off as costs of doing business.
Had they really faced justice the executives would have been frog-marched off.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@gotalife BP oil spill ruined Gulf for centuries to come, all fish died and entire Gulf is a dead zone 

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

TGT88

So why isn't it the job of the federal government "to make sure that all Americans have" clothing, food, housing, transportation, etc.? Do not Americans have a "right" to those things as well? 

(Of course, many liberals believe as much.)

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That's as stupid as it is predictable, right down to the obligatory attribution of it all to 'liberals'.

Let me guess: you're using the word liberal as shorthand for 'left'. Yes? 

gotalife
gotalife

Mistrust festers between Rex Tillerson and his staffers The secretary of state is visibly uncomfortable with the vast infrastructure and expectations of public diplomacy that come with his new role. His distant management style has created growing bewilderment among foreign officials who are struggling to understand where the United States stands on key issues, and it threatens to undermine the power and reach of the State Department.

Trust a ceo from big oil that gave us climate change?

Nope.

Should have picked romney.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

His "workers" should too.

Especially those in the "Climate Change Will Kill Us All" Department.

gotalife
gotalife

trump declares war on con pols and cons did not even fight back.


Weaker than the dems.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@stefpe

Yep.

I helped build plenty of those houses in the platinum triangle, so I saw the traffic first hand, although it was usually going in opposite direction. 

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Atlanta restaurants, businesses will suffer.

Philo ain't even gonna try to go down there unless he has to.

td1234
td1234

@Visual_Cortex Good thing I live on the other side of Atlanta and never use that section of 85. 

stefpe
stefpe

@td1234 @Visual_Cortex That section of 85 sees 250,000 cars per day. Think they're all just gonna stay home? No, they'll divert to roads you possibly do use..

td1234
td1234

@stefpe I normally do not go on the perimeter or inside the perimeter. Hang out in NW GA. 

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

there will be a huge impact on traffic. all of those cars will need to use side streets..the tie up will be felt on Buckhead and Midtown at a minimum

stefpe
stefpe

@Philo_Farnsworth I would imagine most of their business comes from people who live in-town anyway. Believe it or not, lots of people who live in town can afford to go out for dinner on a pretty regular basis.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@TGT88 

I wonder how all those republicans across the U.S. have gotten elected for years now promising to repeal Obamacare

In a Pew poll taken in January, for example, 60 percent of Americans agreed that “it’s the responsibility of the federal government to make sure that all Americans have health care coverage...

Maybe you're wondering about the wrong thing.

Maybe they were elected for other reasons besides Obamacare.

Just suggestin'.

TGT88
TGT88

@Kamchak @TGT88 Maybe they will continue to win elections "for other reasons." 


Just sayin'

Kamchak
Kamchak

@TGT88

(shrug) 

Mid term election will be a good barometer.

Just sayin'. 

gotalife
gotalife

Axelrod said this is blowing up to a fullblown crisis and they don't know what to do.


Lawyer up like flynn.


Not complicated.

Fl0ydLiberal
Fl0ydLiberal

so when Republicans were unable to have 24 million people kicked off insurance, they turned around and removed basic gynecological care from millions of poor women. Compassionate conservatism at work.

gotalife
gotalife

Trump warns Republican hard-liners to obey or else The president effectively declared war against the House Freedom Caucus, a powerful group of hard-line conservative Republicans who blocked the health-care bill, threatening to “fight them” and Democrats in the 2018 elections. 

trump is at war with cons.

Fl0ydLiberal
Fl0ydLiberal

Trump is happiest when he has many enemies.