Former Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) took President Donald Trump and the Republicans to the woodshed this week for reviving their attacks on Obamacare.
Republican strategists have been in a state of panic ever since Trump waded back into the healthcare debate by urging federal judges to kill the increasingly popular 2009 law.
You see, Republicans have spent the last ten years trying to repeal Obamacare, especially in 2017 when they failed multiple times despite having complete majority control of Congress and the White House.
Those efforts, as Franken pointed out in a blog post on Medium, resulted in the exact reason why Republicans should be terrified of the healthcare debate going into the 2020 Election.
“Democrats won back the House majority in the 2018 midterms, picking up 40 seats and beating Republicans by a total of 8.6 million votes nationwide, our largest margin since the 1974 post-Watergate midterms,” Franken wrote. “Why? Health Care. By a nearly two-to-one margin, voters leaving the polls said that health care was their most important issue. And voters in three states voted for Medicaid expansion — Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah!”
Franken then noted that the GOP had years to produce a sufficient replacement plan for Obamacare, but came up with nothing.
“When Republicans finally revealed their plan to replace the ACA, it was spectacularly awful,” he wrote.
Somehow, they had used the seven years to craft a plan that managed to take insurance away from 23 million Americans while making it far more expensive for tens of millions of Americans. Protections for people with pre-existing conditions? Up to the states. Older Americans not yet aged into Medicare would see their premiums skyrocket. And that Medicaid expansion now so popular in 36 states? Effectively gone. The essential health benefits guaranteed by the ACA? Still guaranteed? Not so much.
Republicans lost that fight and Obamcare is more popular than ever, even more popular than Trump, who is now claiming that Republicans have a plan that they will only unveil if the American people vote for them to keep power in 2020. In short, Republicans have no plan, Trump is just desperate to dupe the American people into re-electing him.
The 2018 election should have served as a warning to Republicans not to mess with healthcare unless they have a real plan, especially since Democrats support replacing it with universal healthcare, a true successor to Obamacare that would cover everyone and lower the cost of healthcare dramatically.
In fact, Franken highlighted how Trump’s main plan to replace Obamacare was to just allow insurance companies to sell insurance across state lines.
The problem with that plan, however, is that without Obamacare regulations, insurance companies could sell plans that are worthless. Also, Obamacare does allow insurance companies to sell across state lines.
“Once the ACA became law, every plan had to cover ten essential health benefits, and had to file financial reports to demonstrate its solvency,” Franken wrote. “So, why doesn’t the Affordable Care Act allow states to let insurance companies sell policies across state lines?”
“There is nothing in the ACA that prevents states from allowing health insurance companies to sell policies in other states,” he continued. “In fact, there are states which do allow out-of-state insurance companies to sell policies in their states.”
It’s just difficult because they have to set up a provider network in those states because nobody wants to travel out-of-state to seek medical care.
In other words, Trump’s plan to replace Obamacare is basically Obamacare.
Franken concluded by explaining why healthcare is a losing issue for Trump and the GOP.
“This isn’t going to end well for Donald Trump,” he wrote. “He doesn’t understand why health care is a losing issue for him, because he doesn’t understand health care, period.”
Every Democrat’s goal is universal care. Every other developed country has it and delivers care that has as good or better outcomes than we do for about half the cost. And they pay about 30% of what Americans pay for their pharmaceuticals because they use their collective power to negotiate with the drug companies. Democrats want to do that. Republicans don’t.
We win this one.
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