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Fecteau: Stop This Frivolous War on Obamacare

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Until there is a tangible alternative, we should end this frivolous war on Obamacare. While the GOP members of Congress voted towards repealing Obamacare, they have yet to offer a concrete substitute, willing to deny almost 18 million people critical healthcare coverage (according to the Congressional Budget Office). Obamacare – formally called the Affordable Care Act – may not be unflawed, but is better than the void left in its absence.  

Some have accurately contended Obamacare has serious deficiencies. Because of the lukewarm reception, Obamacare has seen a sky-high increase in premiums, causing some insurers to pull out the exchanges. I should also note, the states that have rejected key aspects of the Obamacare have some of the highest premiums in the country (e.g. Texas), and some of the lowest healthcare enrollment numbers. 

This is valid criticism, but with few or no replacements, Obamacare remains the least poor option available. People are signing up in droves as of late. Obamacare enrollments for 2017 hit a record amount. This is a telltale sign that there is robust support for Obamacare, despite the alleged high price tag. 

Recent polls indicate Americans don’t want to repeal Obamacare without a replacement, but no known alternatives to Obamacare exist. The only Republican senator to vote against repealing Obamacare, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, says he has a plan. While the libertarian leaning senator has yet to offer specifics, his plan will prospectively be free market centric.  

President-elect Mr. Donald Trump has yet to reveal anything except for making vague statements about guaranteeing everyone is covered, but bizarrely, do away with the detested provisions such as the individual mandate. The outlandish part is that the unpopular provisions pay for the popular provisions of Obamacare. How will Trump pay for his plan?  

You may be upset with Obamacare, perhaps it was oversold, but the reality is many people receive lifesaving medical care as a result of its passing such as my cousin. My cousin is dirt poor. He wasn’t able to afford healthcare before the inception of Obamacare. Subsequently, he had to wait for a medical issue to become a crisis to receive treatment at an emergency room at hefty taxpayer expense. 

Under Obamacare, this is no longer occurring. My cousin regularly sees a healthcare provider, and has received treatment for conditions left untreated would cost him his life. You can argue that Obamacare was oversold, I agree, to some extent, but until we have something to fill the void, why are we willing to strip healthcare from the low-income and working-class families across the United States? 

Why rush to repeal Obamacare? We should not put the cart before the horse; let’s have a thoughtful, reasonable discussion about a replacement, produce a tangible substitute if still warranted, and try from there. For people like my cousin, it is a matter of life or death.   

Matt Fecteau ([email protected]) of Pawtucket, Rhode Island was a Democratic candidate for office in 2014 and 2016. He is a former White House national security intern and Iraq war veteran. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewFecteau


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