In what has become a frequent tradition, the House Republicans are voting to repeal Obamacare next week. According to Politico, this has already happened more than 30 times. Speaker Boehner says he is holding the vote because many freshmen members haven’t gotten to take their turn yet repealing health care reform.
To be clear, this is not the “Repeal and Replace” that Republicans talked about when the law first passed – just repeal. There are fair criticisms about the health care law, but a lot of this gets boggen down in minutia that ignores the big picture. So what’s the big picture, and what are Republicans voting on repealing (again)?
- Nearly universal health insurance coverage. This is the most significant policy accomplishment in decades, and a lifeline for the tens of millions of Americans without health insurance. No discussion of repealing Obamacare is complete without asking what happens to those people.
- Number one is really important.
There are other important elements of the bill, but at its core it creates a universal health care system. For those who can’t afford insurance, the law provides subsidies for private insurance and expands Medicaid eligibility. For those who can’t get insurance because of a preexisting condition, the law ensures they can access health insurance like everyone else. For those whose have health insurance and become chronically ill, the law bans coverage limits to ensure that their insurance will stick with them when they need it.
If the Republicans have a better idea for achieving universal health care, they should include it as the replacement for the bill they are repealing. Or maybe they just disagree with the goal of universal health care, and are more concerned that pizza will cost an extra 14 cents.
-Hat tip to Andy Kachor, who let me know about the Politico story and wonders whether Democrats will hold a vote to reestablish Social Security. Like the Republican freshmen and Obamacare, many of them haven’t had a chance to vote on Social Security either.