By Jack Runyan
The AHCA’s failure was a monumental defeat for the Trump & the Republican Party. This defeat arose from a combination of factors, such as the House Freedom Caucus failing to rally for any health care bill that seemed reminiscent of the ACA’s regulatory framework, as well as pressure on moderate Republicans to vote against the bill from constituents at town halls. Of course, a lot of the damage was self-inflicted: the reality is that Speaker Paul Ryan put forth a set of vastly unpopular policies (only 17% of Americans supported Trumpcare) and the party did not put much effort into organizing around these policies. It’s also fair to say that even President Trump’s effort was no where close to President Obama’s in securing the ACA’s passage.
For the moment, the ACA is safe. But Paul Ryan is not done with trying to undermine the state of health care in the United States. He is meeting with donors on Thursday and Friday with a rough plan of what his next push on health care would be like. So if elected Democrats consider the issue of the ACA resolved, they had better think again.
Continue reading “Democrats need to unify around a comprehensive ACA fix right now.”
By Jack Runyan
One of the prevailing themes of the election in 2016 for Democrats was voting for Hillary Clinton was about protecting the Obama legacy. But the reality we face under President Trump is that Republicans are coming for it all. To approach Trumpcare as merely the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to miss the bigger picture, as the bill is actually an insidious attack on all of the achievements that the Democratic Party has made on health care for the past several decades.
The language of the Democratic platform indicates that the party will “will never falter in our generations-long fight to guarantee health care as a fundamental right” and supports “should be able to access public coverage through a public option, and those over 55 should be able to opt in to Medicare.” So why aren’t Democrats in Congress saying something to the effect of “the ACA fixes we’ll accept include a public option and a Medicare buy-in” right now? The unpopularity of Trumpcare would only be enhanced if Democrats were regularly reminding Americans what they stand for, which includes a public health insurance option that generally polls well (admittedly, polling could change based on the terminology used). With the threat of the American Health Care Act’s passage looming, which stands to reign in the ACA’s comparably more generous subsidies and alter Medicaid as we know it, I would argue that it’s time for Democratic answer to the Republican assault on health care to be Medicare for All.
Some may question the utility of such a strategy at a time when Republicans control both the White House and Congress given that a bill congruent with Medicare for all has no chance of becoming law under a Trump presidency. But that is precisely why Democrats should be loud and clear on the issues now. Never has there been a more critical time for Democrats to show the American people what they stand for, which is key to resisting a Donald Trump presidency. In this piece, I make the case for Medicare for all based on an appreciation for what Republicans are attempting to do now, I make the case for Medicare for all as an engine for Democratic messaging and answer common objections to doing so, I bring up a unique challenge for Medicare for all advocates that I believe goes unappreciated, and I make the case for Medicare for all simply based on what it means policy-wise.
Continue reading “The case for Democrats to just run on Medicare for all”