Like some Dickensian ghost of health battles past comes the spectral coda of Graham-Cassidy-Heller. If only facts and data had this many lives.
Just when Democrats thought it was safe to either stop paying attention or go full Don Quixote on Medicare For All, Obamacare repeal is back.
When an entire political party has campaigned and won for seven years on getting rid of a law that was about as popular as President Trump (as in not very), it’s hard to move on. We get that. And who would have thought the country would change its collective mind, just when Republicans won control of the whole government?
Actually, that was kind of predictable. Those dozens of Republican repeal drives, that “Defund Obamacare Town Hall Tour,” those threats to shut down the government, were consequence-free while President Obama was in office. Republicans didn’t have an alternative, but they didn’t need one. Obama was the fail-safe. And indeed, when a repeal bill finally passed both the House and the Senate last year, Obama vetoed it.
Now Trump is president and Republicans are trying to do things their way. And, as they say, the dogs don’t like the dog food. In fact, many of them belatedly seem attached to what’s in their bowls right now. And why not? It has expanded insurance coverage to millions, driven down the personal bankruptcy rate, saved lives.
OK, voters aren’t dogs. But the analogy is apt. There’s been so much overblown rhetoric in the last few years that it took actual GOP health proposals to expose the realities, both good and bad, of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
It’s true that premiums jumped way too high for some people, and that needs to be fixed. At the same time there’s enough good in the law that a bipartisan group of senators is coming out this week with a plan to stabilize insurance markets that Trump is trying to destroy by sharply cutting outreach and enrollment help and the enrollment window, and threatening cost sharing reduction payments that keep costs down for low-income customers.
Yet now, like some Dickensian ghost of health battles of the past 25 years, comes the spectral coda: the repeal bill known as…