**Author’s note: I do not have a political affiliation. Over the course of nearly 37 years, I have voted for Democrats and Republicans, and others too. I am fiercely independent politically, and I plan to stay that way for the rest of my days.
January has never seemed colder.
On inauguration day, the United States Congress and the incoming President will set in motion the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Despite what some who support the incoming president believe, this is also known as Obamacare. Republicans in Congress and the republican President are taking away the established right to health care for 350 million American citizens.
That’s right… this is about more than the 29 million people living with diabetes, or the 14.5 million cancer survivors, or the 30 to 50 percent of men over 40 living with erectile dysfunction in the USA.
They’re taking away the right to care, treatment, and drugs for every single one of us, whether we’re currently living with a disease, condition, illness, or nothing at all. We will once again be on our own.
They’re doing this for a number of reasons, but mostly, because they want to take away my right to health care, and because they can. They can because they have a majority in the House of Representatives, and through the budget reconciliation process, they only need 50 votes in the Senate to repeal the law.
And that replacement that everyone kept harping on under the guise of “repeal and replace”? The idea was never to “repeal and replace immediately”, or to “repeal and replace with something better”. There’s a formula in place here, and this is what it looks like:
1. Repeal as soon as possible. Republicans can pretty much check that off their list.
2. Draft a replacement. Any replacement. It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t matter that it’s not better (ACA is not perfect by any stretch, but the ideas being bandied about by congressional Republicans are sinister). It can be written on the back of a cocktail napkin for all they care. They just need to draft a replacement, and introduce it at the last minute before the vote. Here’s why… listen closely:
3. Vote on the replacement. This vote would pass the House easily, with a simple majority. But in the Senate, the replacement would require 60 votes. The Republicans don’t have 60 seats in the Senate, so that’s never going to happen. Here’s the entire point I’m making– pay attention: When Democrats won’t vote for the “replacement”, Republicans will have everything they need to then go to their press conferences and Meet the Press and Face the Nation and say, “we have a replacement like we promised, but Democrats won’t vote for it, so Democrats are holding up health care for everyone”.
I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that’s how the Republican formula will work. They’ve been wanting to repeal this law for over six years now. Do you think they wouldn’t have a plan in place to try to make themselves look benevolent while making their opposition look opportunistic? There’s only one little thing though…
Republicans are taking away the right to health care for 350 million Americans. That right already existed. It was already tested in the courts. It was already the law of the land. There was no need to repeal it without replacing it with something better, or without rewriting the existing law. Republicans own that. For their part, Democrats are even willing to discuss changes to make Obamacare better, as long as all Americans retain their right to coverage in the process.
But, for whatever reason, Republicans aren’t interested in that. They, and the incoming president, would rather see all Americans without a right to health care than see Americans spend one more day with guaranteed coverage under ACA.
Well, that’s how I see things shaping up over the next few weeks. I hope I’m wrong. I hope the final outcome will be better than anyone had imagined. Right now, I’m still coming to grips with the idea that Republican lawmakers hate us, all of us, all 350 million of us, and are working as we speak to take away our right to heath care forever, guaranteeing that in the aftermath of their plan, some Americans will, in fact, die.
In that respect, Republicans are right… on the streets of D.C., life is cheap. They’re on their way to guaranteeing it.