Just a month ago, I couldn’t imagine I’d ever be in a position to talk about this. Of course I’ve dreamed
about it. I’ve even prayed that a miracle might happen and we’d come to a point
where we could talk about taking apart this monstrosity. But the truth is that I never, ever thought it would actually happen.
And yet here we are. Against all the odds, we have a president-elect who has vowed—not just once but many times—to repeal the abominable (un)Affordable Care Act. We have a Republican majority in Congress, which means a repeal might actually pass—if their outrage over the past six years wasn’t all political show. We have senators like Rand Paul saying that repealing Obamacare will be on the agenda for the first month of President Trump’s term.
It could actually happen, folks.
We’ve won the battle, but the war isn’t over yet
It could actually happen. But whether it will or not may still be up to us. We may have to put pressure on our Congresspeople to make it happen. Yes, they voted to repeal last year, but it was a symbolic gesture. Each and every one of them knew that any attempt to gut Obamacare would be met with a big, fat veto, so passing that kind of legislation was safe. Now that it’s a real possibility, we might have to hold their feet to the fire to make them put their money where their mouths are.
The bottom line is this: most of us hate Obamacare more than ever and want it gone.
But now that repeal is a real possibility, there’s a lot of hand-wringing going on. You’d think that health insurance sprang into being with the enactment of this awful law. I hear people saying, “But oh, what will we do? We can’t just repeal it and not replace it with something else!”
Actually, we could. Health insurance existed long before the ACA passed, and it will exist long after the ACA is gone. We could repeal the ACA, pretend it never happened, and to right back to how things were before it.
Of course, that would leave a lot of people unhappy. Like all the people who suddenly became eligible for Medicaid. Or who were already sick and got insurance at the same rate as healthy people. Or the adults who got to be on their parents’ insurance till they were 26. These are the people who are currently happy with Obamacare. And they’re panicking at the thought of a repeal without a replacement.
But of course what we had before the ACA wasn’t exactly ideal either—far from it. Even the most die-hard of Obamacare opponents admit this. And that’s where we’re in luck. Because our new president-elect, far from not having a plan (as the media has claimed), proposed a plan MONTHS AGO. And it’s a plan that would not just get rid of the ACA but fix much of what was wrong with the system before the Obamination was foisted on us.
The seven-point plan for giving us back control of our own healthcare
1. Completely repeal Obamacare. This is item 1 on the list, the first and foundational point of the plan.
2. Allow the sale of health insurance across state lines. This would create competition that doesn’t currently exist, which in turn would drive down costs.
3. Allow each one of us—not just businesses—to write off insurance premiums on our taxes. As things currently stand, businesses can do this but you and I are stuck claiming those thousands we paid out on insurance as income.
4. Allow individuals to use health savings accounts. Let them be used by any family member without penalty. Make HSA contributions non-taxable. Let them accumulate. Let them become part of the estate of a person, and let them be passed on without any kind of penalty when a person dies.
5. Make pricing transparent. Require doctors, hospitals, and every other healthcare provider to tell us how much things actually cost so we can shop around for the best deal—something that’s currently impossible. This would create real competition, and probably do more to cut healthcare costs than anything else.
6. Block-grant Medicaid to the states. Because the states know better than the Feds what their people need.
And last but not least,
7. Take steps to lower insane drug price tags. From the site:
Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products. Congress will need the courage to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America. Allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.
This last point is the one that Congress will have the most difficulty swallowing. With all the Big Pharma money floating careers and campaigns, Congress is going to turn inside out to avoid doing anything that will really cut the cost of drugs.
This is where we come in.
If all the points of this plan
were put into action, we’d have a pretty good solution to the whole healthcare mess that gave us the ACA in the first place. We’d still have Medicaid for the poorest of us. Seniors would still have Medicare. And the rest of us—those of us subsidizing these same programs with our tax dollars—might actually have access to affordable health insurance ourselves…if we want it.
And if we don’t—if we’re young and healthy and would rather pay for the occasional doctor’s appointment out of our own pockets, say—we’d have the RIGHT to do that as we should have all along.
So here’s what we need to do:
We need to be vocal. We need to tell our Congresspeople in no uncertain terms that we want the ACA gone. Not just pieces of it, but all of it. We don’t want it changed. We don’t want it “improved.” We don’t want it “expanded upon.” We want it GONE. Once it’s gone, we can start afresh.
We need to be persistent. We need to contact our senators and representatives and soon-to-be President Trump himself by any method we can. You can find your senators here and representatives here, plus how to contact them.
Call. Write. Email. Don’t just do one of these—do all of them. Tell them we want to see ALL these points put into action. And don’t just do it once. We have two months for them to forget their promises so we need to remind them periodically.
We need to be evangelists. Too many people are frightened of repealing the ACA. We need to educate them on what the president-elect’s plan actually is, and encourage them to contact their Congresspeople and support it too.
And most importantly, we need to be ruthless. We need to remind all these people that WE elected them. There may be rabid radicals burning down the house in protest right now, but it is WE—the quiet majority who goes to work every day and abides by the rules rather than rioting—who put them in office, and we can take them out too if they renege on their promise to repeal.