Here’s why President Donald Trump has chosen to wait until after the 2020 election to unveil his plans to replace the Affordable Care Act: He knows the issue is a political ticking time bomb for the Republican Party.
Trump is seeking re-election next year and is determined to avoid any issues that could highlight his failure to keep promises he made in 2016. Repealing and replacing the ACA was at the top of the list.
The White House is well aware that the Democratic Party’s takeover in January of the U.S. House of Representatives was the direct result of voters saying they do not trust the GOP to fulfill their very real health-care needs.
Millions of Americans who at one time played Russian roulette with their physical well-being now have peace of mind as a result of the ACA. It was former Democratic President Barack Obama’s major legislative accomplishment and became law with only Democratic votes in Congress.
But even though millions of Americans who previously had no health-care insurance coverage are now protected, Republicans are bound and determined to kill what they derisively call “Obamacare.”
Why? Petty politics. They can’t get over the fact that Democrats once again came through with a program that improves the lives of all Americans.
The GOPers have used every trick in their political book to convince the bene-ficiaries of Obamacare that this is the worst government program ever conceived in Washington.
But the millions of Americans who feel safe in the knowledge that they don’t have to depend on emergency room care in times of need aren’t buying what the Republicans are selling.
In fact, in the midst of the political cacophony, there has emerged a voice of reason that should give the Republican Party pause. The voice belongs to a prominent Republican officeholder in Ohio.
The state’s new attorney general, David Yost, has taken a position on the Affordable Care Act that puts him in direct conflict with President Trump and just about every Republican member of Congress.
On April 1, Yost, former Ohio auditor and a one-time journalist, filed an amicus brief with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals urging a reversal of a lower court’s decision that found the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.
The state of Montana joined Ohio in the filing.
“I do not like judicial activism in either its liberal or conservative flavors,” Yost said of his challenge to the federal court ruling in Texas. “Chief Justice Marshall was right when he said it is the province of the courts to say what the law is – but it also true that the writing of the law belongs to Congress.”
In February 2018, a group of 20 Republican attorneys general filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the ACA. The AGs argued that when Congress – it was controlled by the Republicans – reduced to zero the penalty for violating the individual mandate, a key provision in the act was eliminated.
As a result, the entire law was rendered unconstitutional, they contended. The lower court agreed.
The ruling by the federal judge in Texas prompted state Democratic officials around the country led by the attorney general of California to file an appeal with the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals.
In his amicus brief, Yost argued that the “individual mandate” can be removed from the ACA without dismantling the law entirely.
The Ohio attorney general noted that there are provisions worth preserving, including protections for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.
Indeed, he noted that when Congress reduced the penalty for violating the individual mandate to zero, it left intact protections that would ban insurance companies from denying coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
Yost rightly pointed out that repealing the entire Affordable Care Act could leave 1.9 million Ohioans and 10 million Americans nationwide who have pre-existing medical conditions without health-care coverage.
The attorney general added that an untold number of senior citizens would also be affected.
The Republican Party has made repealing “Obamacare” a top priority and is looking to President Trump to take the lead.
However, Trump’s decision to wait until after the 2020 election to show his hand should make those Americans who are resting easy today because of Obamacare worry about the future.