When President Donald Trump said a few days ago that “nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated,” he was surprised about something that was obviously well-known. Still, Republicans who seek to replace the affordable care act seem to be realizing the same thing.
For a number of years, it was very easy for Congress to vote dozens of times to eliminate the bill they pejoratively called Obamacare to the point that it became its common name. Today, the same legislators are in trouble trying to keep the promise of changing the law without harming its beneficiaries.
Their districts’ old demands to strike down the law, alleging that it was a form of government intrusion preventing patients from choosing their doctor and increasing premiums, have now turned into complaints coming from the more than 20 million people who fear losing coverage and access to medical attention.
Republicans are in over their heads.
They have to replace a health service but lack the money to pay for it and cannot agree on a way to help low-income patients or on how to guarantee profits for the industry without having to force healthy people to enroll to pay for the cost of serving ill people.
If it was complicated trying to replace Obamacare before, today it is worse, thanks to President Donald Trump’s promise to preserve the same level of health coverage and leave the Medicaid federal program alone, whose expansion is the basis of the affordable care act. In Congress, they were ready to reduce access to the program.
The internal disagreement among Republicans is so great that the law to replace Obamacare is being crafted in secret. Very few people have seen it or have access to the bill.
It is ironic to see this happen, as, for years, Republicans criticized the Democrats for not allowing them to participate in the crafting of the affordable care law. Now it is not even being shared with fellow Republicans who they think may have a different opinion about what they are doing.
A law this crucial requires transparency in order for its implications to be known. This chaotic process is a bad sign for Republicans, if they fail to obtain support for it, or for millions of people in the U.S. who will lose their health coverage.