Bern’ed: How the GOP Played Right Into Bernie Sander’s Hands by Undermining Obamacare
The GOP just gave Bernie Sanders a political edge
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was recently passed by the GOP did more than just give the wealthiest Americans tax breaks at the cost of the lower classes. As we explained in a previous article, it included a provision which removed the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act. The mandate had required most Americans to purchase healthcare or pay a fine. And although the mandate was criticized (ironically, given the majority of their positions on other issues )by right-wingers for infringing on the freedom of choice, it was upheld by the Supreme Court in the ruling of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius in 2012.
Without the mandate, there will soon be millions of people without insurance. As NPR health policy correspondent Alison Kodjak explained:
“The Congressional Budget Office did an estimate on this, and they say that in the first year that this goes into effect, which is 2019, about 4 million fewer people will have insurance than would if the mandate stayed in place. And by 2027, about 13 million fewer would. Some of those people are doing it by choice, some perhaps because they can’t afford insurance because the Congressional Budget Office also says that premiums will be about 10 percent higher. That also will cut the federal spending by $338 billion because the government will have to spend less on subsidies to help people buy insurance.”
However, there is a silver lining to all this. In a recent New York Times article, author Robert Pear pointed out how removing the individual mandate penalty and raising healthcare premiums for those without insurance has a strong chance of resulting in larger groups of people qualifying for healthcare subsidies or even Medicaid itself, which already has 75 million people. This is because the premium increases will primarily hurt middle class folks: either individuals with an income over $48,240, or a family of four with a combined income over $98,400.
Related: The GOP’s List of ‘Economists’ Backing Their Tax Scam Includes Office Assistants, Ex-Felons, and Dead People
Universal healthcare is, of course, a long standing bogeyman of the Republican Party, which has been in the pocket of the American health-care racket for so long Ronald Reagan once recorded a propaganda record — on vinyl — for it, when he was an actor, long before he was President. They derided the most objectively successful healthcare systems in the world by raising the specters of long lines and rationed care.
And no progress had been made on catching up to the rest of the leading industrial countries in the world on healthcare until President Obama championed the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare”. Which Republicans made similar doom and gloom predictions about, including 2009’s Politifact Lie of the Year, former Vice-Presidential candidate and current international laughingstock Sarah Palin’s “Death Panels” fear mongering. Because obviously more people will suffer and die needlessly with access to healthcare than without it, right? Wrong. But still, the right wing argues it, and the more gullible in our society swallow that line, hook, sinker, and all.
But universal, single-payer healthcare is also what wildly popular Independent Senator Bernie Sanders has been championing for years, gaining national recognition during the 2016 Democratic Primary. Though being colloquially dubbed “Sanderscare” — a tactic of derision that backfired on “Obamacare” — it is a system that has been implemented successfully in numerous other first-world countries. Call it what you like, whether “single-payer,” “universal healthcare,” or”Medicare-for-all”, it is a policy that has seen popularity even among red state voters, and could now become more likely, courtesy of the GOP’s rash recent actions.
Let it never be forgotten, however, that Republicans actively sought to take health coverage away from many citizens for the sole purpose of giving money to the their corporate donors. Life and death has become a political game for these corrupt politicians that claim to be representing the best interests of the United States.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
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