As the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama made history in so many ways, especially with the passage of his signature health care law in March 2010. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, President Obama reached a milestone that earlier presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Bill Clinton had tried and failed to do. Obamacare took a giant step to help improve the health status for millions of uninsured Americans, giving many more Americans access to quality, affordable health care.
Guided by the principle that “poor wealth should not lead to poor health,” President Obama believed health care should not be reserved for the wealthy or the privileged few, thinking that no one should be left out. With the passage of President Obama’s signature health care policy, many Americans believed that this dream of affordable health care for all Americans was taking us in the right direction, declaring that health care is a right and not a privilege.
Like any new complex social policy, opposition to Obamacare was expected, just as there had been critics to Roosevelt’s Social Security Act in 1935 and to Johnson’s Medicare and Medicaid Program in 1965. However, for the last seven years, Republicans have led a fierce campaign to repeal Obamacare, refusing to lift a hand to even make the law as effective as possible, often going as far as to block any attempt to make the policy better. One can’t help but wonder why the Republicans are so opposed to Obamacare. Just maybe, the Republicans are still trying to weaken and dismantle the legacy of President Obama by removing his name from one of the most important measures in the history of our nation.
It is shameful that there has been no willingness to sit down and talk about ways to improve the health care system. And what about all of the Americans who are benefiting from Obamacare right now. With the uninsured rate at an all-time low in America, let’s be about the business of working together to get more people covered and find ways to bring health care costs down. Too, let’s be about the business of helping people get the health care they need and deserve.
Interestingly, health care officials and major medical groups have come out against the proposed Republican health care bill, stating that Obamacare on its premise, is a good thing. Instead of repealing and replacing Obamacare, they want to fix it and make it better, making the current law work for all. Whatever attempts Democrats have offered to fix Obamacare have received little traction in the Republican-controlled Congress, a Congress that is bent on killing Obamacare.
Remember, Republican leaders tried for eight years to de-legitimize President Obama and failed. Now, President Trump, after telling a lie about President Obama wiretapping Trump Tower, is supporting the GOP health care bill that will repeal and replace Obamacare, which is deemed to be working by most fair accounts.
Larry Sutton is a retired teacher from Clinton High School.