Much of the news in the past month or so has been over Republican attempts to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare. Of course, those attempts have been not only unsuccessful but embarrassingly unsuccessful. The first bill the GOP attempted to ram through Congress never even made it to the floor and had a national approval rating of only 17 percent. If that wasn’t bad enough, a second and third attempt to revive “Trumpcare” have gone worse than the first attempt.
Joy Ried brought on Massachusetts Congressman, Joe Kennedy III ( see video below …) and asked him about why Republicans are on one hand so adamant about repealing the bill, vs improving it — and also why can’t they seem to actually do anything despite having clear majorities and control of every branch of government? Kennedy explained that the reasons behind the zeal to repeal either boil down to anecdotes about challenges in their districts or Speaker Paul Ryan saying that it is a “moral obligation” to do what they said they would for over seven years.
As far as the “morality” of it all goes, Kennedy pointed out that taking away coverage for up to 24 million Americans is hardly “moral.” In fact, Reid asserted that it has become very clear that Democrats have certainly won the “moral high-ground” on this issue. Kennedy stressed, however, that it isn’t Democrats who won, but the American people standing up against draconian GOP plans that would do much more harm than good in his, and many other American’s views.
And he’s right. Democrats had no way to legislatively stop the attempts by the GOP and it was only because Americans stepped up and demanded that the GOP not vote for the horrible bills they have proposed.
As far as the challenges go, Kennedy pointed out that he and Democrats have offered many times to work on those challenges, which especially in rural districts, have made some aspects of the ACA not so attractive.
“There isn’t any real justification for (repealing the ACA and replacing it with something that robs 24 million in coverage and guts the actual care) other than the concerns that are somewhat valid, that some Republicans are hearing back in their districts about challenges that their own constituents have about concerns over getting quality affordable health care. Which, by the way, I and my colleagues — Democrats — are 100 percent committed to ensuring that we strengthen the ACA to make sure they do get access to that coverage. When you ask that question to Republicans, they don’t have an answer.”
In other words, Democrats are and have been more than eager to sit at the table and work on the very real challenges of the ACA like choice and premiums/ deductibles being brought under control in the areas they have skyrocketed. The problem is, Republicans refuse. Some suggest that this is because the GOP (and their big money donors) really have no interest in actually trying to insure all Americans, they just wanted to make political noise when they weren’t in power. Now that they are in power, they are like a dog who caught the car and don’t really know what to do. So, the only attempts at legislation are ones that purely only benefit the wealthy and corporations.
The GOP may want to change their stance sooner, rather than later. Polls show that not only a huge majority of Democrats and Independents will hold the GOP responsible going forward if they drop the ball on this one, but a majority of Republicans feel that way as well.
Check out the full interview with Kennedy below. Also, keep watching beyond the interview for political guru Jimmy Williams and his take on healthcare not only being a “right” but a “civil right” and how that relates to “state’s rights.” You’ll be glad you did as it makes a lot of sense.
As time rolls forward, Republicans are going to have to eventually choose country over party. Some are going to have to “suck up” the fact that President Obama did something that benefits millions of Americans, many of whom live in their districts and repeal is not an option. The only option is to move forward and improve the act. And if history is any lesson, just as what happened with other big pieces of legislation like Social Security and the Civil Rights Act, the ACA will probably be revisited again and again as times and needs change. Joe Kennedy is putting a non-partisan olive branch out to Republicans to sit down and do some actual work that helps Americans. They would be wise to take him up on his offer.
Featured image via screen capture from youtube.com