Guest post from Austin Haywood of Adel, Iowa
Republicans in Congress are making a fatal mistake when it comes to passing a bill that repeals and replaces the Affordable Care Act. By keeping details of the bill secret from everyone, including Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans are setting up their bill for failure. For that reason I encourage the Iowa delegation, including Congressmen David Young and Rob Blum, to vote against the American Health Care Act. In order to really fix our nation’s healthcare system, we need bipartisan efforts that are done in the light of day, not behind a locked door in the capitol.
The Affordable Care Act promised a lot of improvements for everyday Americans when it comes to helping patients gain access to care, however the Republican plan is stuck in limbo between full repeal of Obamacare and maintaining the current system that continues to fail those who need help the most. Passing this bill in less than three months of a new Congress is reckless and will inevitably cause greater problems than it tries to solve. Already the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said that 24 million fewer Americans will have insurance if this bill were signed into law. These numbers hardly live up to President Trump’s promise made shortly before taking the oath of office that “We’re going to have insurance for everybody.”
Many legislators have hosted town hall meetings filled with concerned constituents worried about the Republican plan, precisely because of the lack of transparency in writing the bill. By opening up the process to constituents, many angry voters would not be so worried about the bill and be willing to help promote good ideas that could pass Congress. By not working with the people, and using partisan ideas, Republicans are working against their best interests in reforming healthcare.
Republicans are compromising their ideas of healthcare reform for one simple reason, reconciliation. Reconciliation is a budget procedure that allows a bill to pass the Senate with 51 votes instead of the normal 60 votes required to end debate. By limiting themselves to the rules that bind reconciliation, conservative lawmakers are making their job harder to accomplish and weakening the healthcare system while they do it. If Republicans work with Democrats to solve the current problems in the healthcare system, they can do it in a way that will get 60 votes in the Senate and ensure that Americans can get the healthcare they deserve.
Republicans can learn from recent history on this issue by looking at how the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. By using partisan votes, Democrats were able to pass what many today call Obamacare. Obamacare has helped in many ways, such as giving more Americans access to health insurance. But other parts, such as the penalties for not having insurance, are also creating problems. But the Republican bill does nothing to truly tackle the increasing costs of healthcare.
Healthcare is a major issue in our country, the increasing insurance costs are making it harder for employers to give wage increases, taking money out of families budgets, and putting a strain on our overworked emergency rooms. The American Health Care Act is not the answer to our nations healthcare issues, and Republicans should learn from the lessens of Obamacare and instead work across the aisle to pass real healthcare reform.
by Austin Haywood