For seven years, Republicans vowed to end Obamacare and made every effort possible to sabotage it. When the GOP finally got power, the American public found out Republicans didn’t have a plan and also realized that they didn’t want to go back to the days of pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps. The repeal and replace failure was one the biggest embarrassments in the first 100 days of any president in recent history.
In the aftermath of the repeal and replace debacle, two factions of Republicans emerged. The House Freedom Caucus is back to the drawing board, trying to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. Moderate Republicans in place like North Carolina have decided to move on and introduced legislation to expand Medicaid.
The Freedom Caucus folks will fail. The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is more popular than it’s ever been. The repeal and replace battle served to educate people about the actual benefits of the program and a majority of Americans don’t want to lose what they’ve gained.
Make no mistake, Obamacare is still a flawed program and needs a lot of work. However, instead of trying to kill the program, Republicans should try to fix it. In making it work better, they could take credit for helping more people get health insurance while keeping costs under control.
At the federal level, Congress could reinstate risk corridors that protect insurance companies from huge losses due to a large number of sick people entering the market. Marco Rubio killed the risk corridors in with a rider to a budget bill and successfully drove insurers out of the Obamacare marketplace. Restoring them would make the program more successful and eventually lead to more stability.
Expanding Medicaid would also lead to more people gaining insurance without leaving insurance companies on the hook. The North Carolina Republicans don’t want to call their plan Medicaid expansion but that shouldn’t matter. Democrats and Republicans could work together to do something that helps everyone in the state by expanding access to care and helping to stabilize the insurance market.
People want affordable health care that offers good coverage. They don’t care too much about how they get it. Democrats and Republicans should work together to make the Obamacare framework function better for everyone.