On the Way - Make America Sick Again?
Yesterday on Capitol Hill Vice President Elect Mike Pence reassured Republicans that repealing Obamacare will be "first order of business for the incoming Trump administration".
But as Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer pointed out in a press conference yesterday, Republicans simply have no idea what they're going to replace Obamacare with.
"My republican colleagues don't know quite what to do, they're like the dog who caught the bus. They can repeal but they have nothing to put in its place and that means so many good things go away."
Repealing Obamacare altogether, and thus going back to letting the insurance company banksters rob us blind and then throw us off coverage when we get sick, would be a disaster, and the Republicans know that.
But they've spent the past 6 years telling their base and their donors that that's exactly what really, really, really needed to be done, and they were so persistent that they actually got some people to believe them.
So now, they're trapped.
Basically, the only real choice Republicans have now is to continue the giant con on their voters.
They're going to make a few small tweaks to Obamacare -- probably to the individual mandate because that's the most unpopular part of the law -- call it a "repeal," and then rename the finished package something like "Trumpcare".
Republicans will then declare victory and head home, having accomplished nothing but make an already compromised healthcare system even more compromised.
This will be a big missed opportunity, both for Republicans and the country.
Ultimately, the problems with Obamacare aren't really problems with Obamacare per se - but problems with the whole idea of for-profit healthcare industry.
Seriously - Canada, Mexico, all the major European nations - even Costa Rica - are NOT having this conversation, because in all those places healthcare is a right, not a privilege.
We're literally the only country in the world that lets rich banksters hold citizens' health hostage in exchange for profits.
The sad reality is that most of what Obamacare really did was make a few changes to an already-corrupt private for-profit healthcare industry - good changes, certainly, but still within a for-profit system - and put the government on the hook for the political backlash to those changes.
It did some good things, but it left in place the major problem with the American healthcare system: we treat healthcare as a profit engine, not a human right.
Until that's changed, nothing will really improve.
So if Republicans were actually serious about fixing Obamacare, they'd take this opportunity to do what Democrats should have done 6 years ago when they had the chance - they'd make healthcare a human right by either passing a public option or they'd do what the Swiss have done and require all health insurance companies to operate as nonprofits.
Or better yet, they'd lower the Medicare eligibility age to 0 and create a real national single payer health insurance system.
Those are the only real ways to fix Obamacare.