Barak Obama didn’t waste any time fulfilling his promise to provide health care for as many Americans as possible. In the beginning he had some bipartisan support, but it didn’t last. The Republicans rejected any and all proposals and not one voted with Democrats to pass the law. It was the gift Republicans could only dream of, an issue they thought would divide the country and allow them to rescue the American people from every horror that could be ascribed to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
Over the years Republicans made a big show in the House with some sixty votes to repeal Obamacare knowing that it had no chance of success. At least they could show their constituents they were looking after them. Then Congressman Tom Price (R-GA), a physician, came up with a replacement plan, but former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) wouldn’t give Price’s bill so much as a committee hearing. That’s how serious Republicans were about ridding us of the plague of Obamacare.
Donald Trump ran on a platform of repealing and replacing Obamacare as one of his first orders of business if elected. Included in this promise was keeping the most important provision---and the most popular in the entire ACA---that no one could be excluded from healthcare coverage because of a preexisting condition. Trump coupled this promise with ridding the law of the mandate requirement that everyone, with few exceptions, had to have coverage or pay a fine. Republican candidates for the House and Senate adopted this platform as their own, but none explained how they would continue to require insurers to cover preexisting conditions without the mandate to pay for it.
As we now know, it was a game of Three Card Monte. Republicans unsuccessfully tried to repeal the ACA once they won the 2016 elections. Turned out they had no real replacement. When Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) offered to work with Republicans to fix the broken parts of Obamacare, to correct mistakes as are found in all complex legislation in the beginning, he was soundly rebuffed.
Trump appointed Price to head up Health and Human Services largely because of Price’s opposition to Obamacare and experience with healthcare. Price proved to be a failure in working with Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare, and then he was forced to resign because of serious violations concerning government travel. Not many months after Price rejoined the private sector he publicly stated that without the mandate, which he had opposed for years, the cost of healthcare would rise. And to think the American people were promised better if only we would trust Republicans to take charge of our health care.
The 2017 tax bill that passed with no support from Democrats, included the repeal of the health insurance mandate. Nothing was said about how insurance companies would cover the costs of the preexisting conditions requirement considering that a large number of healthy young people would drop off the rolls.
But now we know the answer. The Trump administration has ordered the Department of Justice to withdraw its support for the ACA in a lawsuit on appeal before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. If the court upholds a District Court decision from Texas, that will be the end of the requirement for insurers to cover preexisting conditions. Problem solved.
Trump recently said that the American people can expect a much better healthcare bill even though there are no current proposals by any House or Senate Republicans. In fact, many Republicans were blindsided by Trump’s pronouncement. That said, conservative talk radio propagandize their listeners how un-American Democrats are so anti-Trump that they will oppose anything Republicans might have to offer in the way of a plan---without knowing what a single Republican plan looks like at this point.
Trump and Republicans should enjoy campaigning next year as they defend their nonexistent healthcare plan for Americans, the one we’ve been promised since 2010, the one that Tom Price pushed until he changed his mind, the one that promises everything and offers nothing.