The battle for Obamacare is revving up.
Donald Trump will become president in little more than two weeks (still sounds surreal, doesn’t it?), and the GOP-led Congress is ready to move forward in repealing the Affordable Care Act. President Obama met with his party to rally them to do whatever it takes to stop this Republican effort, despite the uphill battle.
The Democrats are holding Republicans feet to the fire on offering a replacement to the healthcare bill. Chuck Schumer said:
They want to repeal it and then try to hang it on us. Not going to happen. It’s their responsibility, plain and simple. They’re going to own it, all the problems in the health care system are going to be on their back.
It’s a noble effort—and a pragmatic one. By repealing the law and failing to offer a replacement, Republicans are likely to face the fallout of up to 30 million people losing their healthcare. The few proposed replacements, such as Tom Price’s gift to privitization and Paul Ryan’s laughable 37 pages of talking points are steps backwards.
Republicans are predictable—side with insurers, Big Pharma, privatize Medicare, and gut Medicaid.
But Democratic lawmakers aren’t exactly trailblazers either. They defend incremental reforms rather than fighting for truly visionary ideas. Obamacare did make things better for millions of Americans. But it also surrendered a public option and abondoned plans to allow the importation of high quality, low-cost drugs.
This assured that insurance premiums and drug prices would rise. Following the trend from the Clinton years, the ACA was a neoliberal proposal that sought a middle way between private and public interests.
The Democrats seek to energize voters and activists during the fight for Obamacare. But what would really mobilize the electorate would be to propose an evantual ‘upgrade’—that would be Medicare for All.
Of course the legislative possibility of passing it would be zero for the forseeable future. But it would place the flag down and show the public where the Democratic Party now stands on the issue. This would increase turnouts in the 2018 and 2020 elections.
Bernie Sanders’s campaign gained much traction and energy based off of his unequivical support for such bold proposals as Medicare for All. But it’s not only visionary, it’s pragamatic. Such reform would bring even more insurance coverage and lower costs to consumers. It would give Americans the same access to healthcare as every other developed nation in the world.
It would also draw a strong contrast between Democrats and the Republicans that are fighting for such draconian measures as privitizing Medicare. It would be a clear declaration of a new Democratic Party—one that doesn’t seek a way between corporate and public interests, but truly fights for the people.