The best action for Obamacare is to improve it

Following the defeat of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s health care repeal bill, some right-center Republicans have become disillusioned with the hyper-conservative approach of the Trump administration and GOP leadership.

While President Trump claimed “The Democrats will make a deal with me on health care as soon as ObamaCare folds,” members of both parties are not so sure they will “fold” as he is suggesting. Multiple reports from the Congressional Budget Office indicate the bill, even in its relatively crippled state, will not be failing the system anytime soon. 

In regard to the likelihood of Trump being able to “make a deal” with Democrats on health care, Paul Ryan said, “I don’t want that to happen,” in an interview with CBS, signaling that bipartisan cooperation will not be brokered by higher-ups. However, moderates from both sides of the aisle have come together to discuss attempts to delay taxes and reduce health premiums. Granted, this is not exactly what one would call a glorious collaboration between parties on the extremely divisive bill, but it is a start.

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) confirmed earlier this week that he is working with Democrats on analyzing certain aspects of Obamacare, such as unnecessary taxes and the flaws in the individual health care coverage markets that both Republicans and Democrats “agree are problematic.” Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) revealed the “New Democrats” caucus have been working with the Republican “Tuesday Group,” saying, “We meet regularly [with the Tuesday Group] to talk about our ideas and discuss how to implement them.”

Some of this bipartisan communication has already paid off, one example being the repeal of the medical device tax by the House Ways and Means Committee, a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN). Rep. Bera has been working with Rep. Phil Roe to fund a former bill to “make grants to eligible entities to expand or make available disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications,” according to H.R. 2463.

As these members of Congress come together to help fix the bill that they once so vehemently argued about, it signals that perhaps a repeal is not the most sensible option in the Republican arsenal. They will be more likely to broker peace and come to reasonable compromises rather than take a slash-and-burn approach to Obamacare.

Rep. Dent himself argues these small steps suggest high-likelihood of bipartisan collaboration on health care in the future, saying “I’ve always felt that we should try to reform the health care bill from the center out, first by identifying areas of agreement and then working up … there are Democrats who love the ACA but know it needs to be fixed and repaired, and there are Republicans who detest the ACA but realize aspects of this must be maintained … there are opportunities for substantial reform here.”

This glimmer of optimism leaves politically-attentive citizens hoping that Congress will eventually come to an agreement on something so inherently effectual on their lives.

 

Benjamin Hummel is an English and speech & communications major at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected]