Since 2010, Republicans have campaigned on the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare with more efficient, low-cost healthcare coverage. This promise, which undoubtedly was the driving force behind the Republican resurgence of 2016, now hangs in the balance with the introduction of the American Health Care Act (RyanCare), an improper response that negates the millions of voters who sought a radically different system. While some on the right have deemed RyanCare “a good first step,” it is a step in the wrong direction.
There are components of Speaker Ryan’s proposal that numerous conservatives have found issue with. Most notable is the inclusion of a tax credit based on age, which is effectively a refundable subsidy to those who pay little in taxes. Though this seemingly goes against traditional Republican economics, it is a purely political move designed to avoid backlash from congressional constituents.
While Republicans have promised a full repeal of Obamacare, they are retaining one of its primary directives, a mandate forcing insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, while RyanCare does eliminate the individual mandate, it allows insurance companies to charge a 30% fine for those who allow their insurance to lapse for more than two months at any point within a twelve month span.
Essentially, this guarantees individuals will be fined for lacking coverage, which many Republicans previously considered unconstitutional under Obamacare.
While replacing Obamacare is undoubtedly an arduous task, fulfilling the promise of a full repeal is not. By retaining certain elements of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are reneging on their commitment to fully eliminate the disastrous legislation. More than this, they are simply betraying the confidence of the American people, and I for one am not holding my breath.