As the first 100 days of President Trump’s term continue, the question of healthcare is weighing on the minds of many. The repeal and replacement of the ACA, or Obamacare, is inevitable, but many are wondering when it will happen. One of the biggest issues is the fear of losing coverage during the repeal process. State governors have been vocal about ensuring their citizens will not lose health coverage during the time the GOP repeals and replaces the Obama-era healthcare bill. On Monday, conservative governors from across the nation met with Trump at the White House during a weekend of meetings in Washington D.C.
During the meeting, Trump touched on healthcare and aimed at putting their minds at ease, and he also spoke on bringing the Republican Party together during the process. There is a lot of talk in the media about the Trump administration working on proposals while Congress works on their own, which seems to put them in separate categories. While this is not even close to being true, Trump feels that if they find common ground now, and show the American people that they are indeed working together in the early stages, the complex process will be much easier to tackle as a united front. President Trump also talked about the difficulty of working with healthcare, no matter who you are.
Trump admitted during the meeting that “nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated.” Later in a post-meeting interview, he reiterated his point by saying, “I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject.”
The difficulties President Trump speaks of include a multitude of different things. One of these complexities, which we have heard about a lot in the media, is the battle between full or staggered access to healthcare. While the thought of living in a world where we can all just go to the doctor, get the medicines we need, and live full, healthy lives sounds appealing, it just isn’t that simple sometimes. Having staggered access to care, on the other hand, means people who are statistically healthier may pay a little more, but that money helps counter the costs of taking care of other people who tend to be in poorer health. Both parties have gone back and forth on this issue.
The GOP also wants to ensure political bipartisanship during the repeal process. By having both parties agree on more decisions, and ultimately fight toward the same solutions, the government is making sure the citizens of the United States, and our healthcare, are at the forefront of discussion. If we are to have opposing sides while we are waiting for the ACA to be repealed and replaced with another healthcare plan, it will only drag out the process even longer than it needs to be. While the GOP holds the majority in both houses, they also understand how important a bipartisan agreement on big legislation such as healthcare can be.
During his campaign, and throughout his first month as President, Trump has spoken about putting America first in any decision the government makes – from international affairs to trade, and even in healthcare. By instituting an ‘America First’ policy in health care reform, our government is taking steps in ensuring no foreign entities can profit off of America’s ill citizens. President Trump has also held meetings with pharmaceutical companies to discuss lowering the costs of much needed medications for patients, and he has also spoken out against companies that raise prices simply for the sake of profit.
Unlike what we saw in 2009 with the Democratic Party taking the reigns and using their majority power to push Obamacare through late at night, the Republican Party is trying to bring Congress together. Both Congress and President Trump are choosing to ignore the media claims that Obamacare is getting last-minute support from both parties. Trump explains that even if the numbers are true, it simply means that people are nervous about the coming change, which is normal when something like healthcare is on the table. He claims there is not really bipartisan support for the ACA, but rather ‘cold feet’ due to the uncomfortable decisions Congress is about to have to make.
Even as the GOP readies itself to work alongside Dems in Congress, Republican leaders also know the importance of creating a case before stating it. The majority party is currently looking for common ground within itself before opening the floor for discussion with the Democratic members of Congress. This is a vital move that guarantees a united front in the Republican Party throughout the entire process of repealing and replacing the ACA. It will be interesting to see a united GOP work alongside their Democratic counterparts.
The timeline of the process is also very important. As many citizens and government officials have become weary of the impending crush of Obamacare, Congress and President Trump need to make sure that it all happens at once, or as close together as possible. Any gaps between repealing the ACA and replacing it can consequently leave millions of Americans without the coverage they need. Trump has confirmed his plan to repeal and replace the bill simultaneously, although with any kind of setbacks, this could change.
“It will be repeal and replace. It will be essentially simultaneously. It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably the same day. Could be the same hour,” President Trump said in a news conference in early January.
The Trump administration and Republican members of Congress are keeping healthcare reform a high priority. Like anything President Trump puts his name on, any bill that passes will have to be perfect. As we saw with Obama, when you rush to implement something just because you want to make a change, it seldom works out for anyone involved. Obamacare raised premiums for many Americans, and still left millions without coverage – even Democrats agree. Our healthcare system, which is “disastrous” according to Trump, has the potential to see better days under the new administration. By passing a healthcare bill that is good for all Americans, Trump is teaching Obama and his supporters a valuable lesson.
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