Republican leadership in Congress last week released its plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. As expected, it was rebuked by Democrats. But many Republicans in the House and Senate also voiced concerns.
We now have a serious debate on American health care — and not just in the halls of the Capitol.
This is hardly new. It’s been going on for more than 70 years, at least since Harry S. Truman was president.
“I asked this Congress to do something about the health of the people of this country,” Truman said in 1948. “I asked them for health insurance. You know, in this country, the people in the middle can’t afford to go to a hospital. And they can’t afford to pay what it costs sometimes. And they can’t afford sometimes even to pay the doctor’s bill after they get service.”
And when the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was approved by Congress, the debate didn’t end — it just shifted.
The 2016 election — whether for president, the House or the Senate — included much discussion about Obamacare, whether to fix it or repeal and replace it.
President Donald Trump, who as a Republican ran on a repeal-and-replace platform, is now in the White House. His administration has been working with GOP leaders who control the House and Senate to come up with a plan to repeal and replace.
The Washington Post reports the Trump administration is taking its support for the House Republicans’ health-care proposal directly to the people “in an attempt to circumvent a surge of opposition to the plan among conservatives, Democrats and health-care industry groups.”
Meanwhile, the details of the plan are being discussed and debated. House Speaker Paul Ryan wrote an opinion piece for USA Today pushing the GOP leadership plan.
“For starters, our bill repeals Obamacare. We cannot rebuild the American health care system on such a flawed foundation, and that’s why we eliminate Obamacare’s taxes, mandates and spending,” Ryan wrote.
“Next, and this is important, our plan ensures there will be a stable transition. As we move from a Washington-driven system to a more vibrant market, we will make sure no one has the rug pulled out from under them. This also means we will ensure vital protections for patients with pre-existing conditions and allow young adults to stay on their parents’ plan.”
Not all agree — including some of Ryan’s fellow Republicans.
That means there will be debate, debate and more debate.
This is as it should be.
Getting health care right has been elusive since the buck stopped with President Truman. It’s going to take some give and take, and likely some bipartisan agreements.
But after the months of political bickering over far less important subjects, it’s great to see a serious debate in Congress about a serious — and important — subject such as health care.