Oba­macare re­peal has its best chance now with GOP

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - MERCEDES SCHLAPP Mercedes Schlapp is a Fox News con­trib­u­tor, co-founder of Cove Strate­gies and for­mer White House di­rec­tor of spe­cialty me­dia un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

To do noth­ing on health care is not an op­tion, and time is not on the GOP’s side, with less than 45 days left on the leg­isla­tive cal­en­dar and six years of talk­ing about Oba­macare re­peal and re­place. While im­per­fect, the Se­nate dis­cus­sion draft of the health care bill is nec­es­sary for out­lin­ing the steps needed to rescue and sta­bi­lize the in­di­vid­ual health mar­ket, where mil­lions of Amer­i­cans have been left with one or no op­tions on health in­sur­ance.

Repub­li­cans are propos­ing to give states more flex­i­bil­ity and fund­ing so that they can take con­trol of their in­sur­ance mar­kets and fig­ure out the best prod­ucts for their states. In an ideal world, a com­plete re­peal and re­place of Oba­macare would have been the best-case sce­nario, but the GOP is lim­ited with­out the 60-mem­ber vote thresh­old in the Se­nate. They are con­fined and forced to work within the bud­get rec­on­cil­i­a­tion frame­work.

Democrats need to first ad­mit that Oba­macare is fail­ing, but they won’t. In­stead they are push­ing an emo­tional nar­ra­tive of in­come in­equal­ity pit­ting the rich against the poor. They are sound­ing alarm bells and blam­ing Repub­li­cans for the health care mess that Democrats them­selves cre­ated.

Even for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama com­mented on the GOP bill, call­ing it “a mas­sive trans­fer of wealth from mid­dle-class and poor fam­i­lies to the rich­est peo­ple in Amer­ica.” Sen. Bernie San­ders re­leased a state­ment call­ing it “by far the most harm­ful piece of leg­is­la­tion” he’s ever seen.

But the Democrats cre­ated an un­af­ford­able and un­sus­tain­able health care sys­tem — and now Repub­li­cans have a man­date to fix the prob­lem.

An eHealth study showed that 54 per­cent of fam­i­lies will be un­able to af­ford health in­sur­ance based on 2018 pre­mi­ums and the Af­ford­able Care Act af­ford­abil­ity guide­lines. Democrats will need to re­move “af­ford­able” from the ti­tle of the law.

Oba­macare has left the mid­dle class be­hind. We have heard the sto­ries over and over again that Oba­macare has led to pre­mi­ums dou­bling in four years for those who don’t get Oba­macare sub­si­dies. The Democrats’ so­lu­tion is to give away more fed­eral money — their ver­sion of mak­ing a sin­gle-payer sys­tem a re­al­ity.

Don’t fall for the Democrats’ line that this is a “harm­ful bill with­out a heart.” It’s the Democrats’ fa­vorite line from their play­book. As one health care ex­pert ex­plained, the Se­nate bill is a log­i­cal and nec­es­sary step to help sta­bi­lize an un­healthy in­sur­ance mar­ket cre­ated by Oba­macare.

While the fights will con­tinue in Congress, the broader ques­tions will cen­ter on what Amer­i­cans want from their health care sys­tem. More choices? Greater af­ford­abil­ity? Most Repub­li­cans are keep­ing in mind that a dras­tic change could be detri­men­tal, and this fix is the first step in im­prov­ing the sys­tem. They can’t wait much longer. Now is the time for dis­man­tling Oba­macare. Repub­li­can Sen. Pat Roberts ex­plained: “De­lay means higher pre­mi­ums, higher co­pay­ers. … This bill is the best pos­si­ble bill un­der very dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances.”

Repub­li­cans will have the chal­lenge of mak­ing their case to the Amer­i­can peo­ple so they don’t feel un­cer­tain about the out­come of the process.

To have bet­ter health care choices and more af­ford­able health in­sur­ance, sig­nif­i­cant changes need to be made im­me­di­ately, and wait­ing will only limit Repub­li­cans’ abil­ity to save the health care sys­tem from Oba­macare’s disaster.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Democrats con­tinue to de­cry Repub­li­cans’ plans to over­haul health care while per­haps not ad­mit­ting that Oba­macare it­self has flaws.

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