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 co-payers. 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.
• 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.
Copyright © 2017 The Washington Times, LLC.