I know this blog is a little out of the ordinary for an “education” blog, but it is really just an opportunity to think out loud about what I think is a misunderstood topic. While I do support universal healthcare, preferably in the form of a “single-payer,” I’m a realist and know it will never happen. This is not intended to be a platform for supporting ObamaCare, nor condemning it. I know many people who now have coverage that they couldn’t get, before. I also know people who have been priced out of insurance and have opted to pay the penalty without coverage.
The question posed in the title of this blog is the reason I chose to write it. What I see and hear daily is that the Republican controlled Congress will repeal and replace ObamaCare. The public is demanding a reveal of what they intend to replace it with. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they haven’t revealed it, yet, because the plan they’ve been pushing for 40+ plus years is…ObamaCare. They have no other plan.
In 1972, Republican President, Richard Nixon, introduced his National Health Strategy. Nixon’s plan essentially shared all of the components of ObamaCare with a few small exceptions. The basic concept was universal healthcare, for all, delivered by private entities. The plan required healthcare payers to provide coverage for certain preventive services in exchange for requiring everyone to participate. Employers with 10 employees, or more, would be required to pay a minimum portion of the employees’ premium. Insurance coverage would be provided free of charge to those earning below $5000/yr. The plan failed to win passage in Congress. Nixon introduced the plan again in 1974. Again, it failed.
In 1993, the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act (HEART), was authored and introduced by Republican Senator, John Chafee, of Rhode Island. The bill, cosponsored by Bob Dole, was intended to prevent Bill Clinton’s healthcare proposal from succeeding. The plan was very comparable to ObamaCare, with the exception of employer contributions and Medicaid expansion. Both bills failed.
In 2006, Republican Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, tweaked the plan to include Medicaid expansion and subsidies for those who didn’t qualify for Medicaid and included a public option. Shortly after its introduction, it was dubbed RomneyCare. The bill passed.
Shortly after taking office, President Barack Obama committed to establishing healthcare reform. Trying to draw from best parts of plans previously offered by both parties, his initial plan included parts of Bill Clinton’s “single-payer” plan, and a number of components from the Republican offerings in 1993. The plan was immediately met with opposition from the Republican Congress, and they came back with a revised version of Romney’s plan that had been implemented in Massachusetts. Obama attempted to compromise on the plan and pushed for a public option to go along with the private payer option so that people could choose the way they wanted to go. The Republicans pushed back. In the end, in an effort to establish a foundational move toward healthcare reform, Obama caved and agreed to the plan.
So, now that you know the history of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, do you think it is likely that the GOP will have a replacement when they have pushed the same plan for 40 years, and it has failed? Not likely.