Conservative Health Reform Jeopardy

Conservative Health Care Reform in Jeopardy

After deciding to pull the bill that aimed to repeal the Affordable Care Act from consideration on Mar. 24, President Donald Trump and House Republican leaders have reintroduced the American Health Care Act.

“Obamacare” is considered to be one of the Obama administration’s most memorable domestic accomplishments, and one that Trump, during his campaign, would be easy to repeal. However, the bill lacked the votes it needed to pass, as it was opposed by the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

Following the failure of the legislation, House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future,” according to The New York Times. President Trump also said that he was going to move on to other issues.

On Mar. 28, the White House put the American Health Care Act back on the table. In an interview released on Sunday, Trump said that negotiations to replace the Affordable Care Act were still in effect. According to Business Insider, Trump said, “But that wasn’t a definitive day. They are negotiating as we speak.”

“I don’t know what has changed,” Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern said. “The bill went down because it was too bad for Republican moderates and not bad enough for their conservatives.”

Pulling the bill was a significant defeat for the Trump administration, and follows several other unsuccessful battles, such as the travel ban, which was blocked by the courts, the resignation of the national security advisor Michael T. Flynn, and increasing tensions with allies Germany, Britain, and Australia.

Trump’s approval ratings are also among the lowest a president has experienced at this point in the presidency.

The Republican bill aimed at doing away with tax penalties for people without insurance, decreased federal insurance standards, repealed hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes that the Affordable Care Act instilled, and cut federal funds of Planned Parenthood for a year.

The American Health Care bill would have also left 24 million more Americans without insurance in 2024, and would drive insurance premiums up, especially for older citizens.

Representative Jim McGovern said that, “Republicans are killing the requirements that insurance plans cover essential health benefits,” according to the New York Times. These include emergency services, maternity care, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Dr. Joseph Patten, associate professor of political science and sociology, said, “Republican leadership was caught in a vice between very conservative members who viewed the bill as “Obamacare lite” and were opposed because they are mostly philosophically opposed to a federal role in healthcare and more moderate Republicans who were concerned about the political impact of sponsoring legislation that kicks 24 million people off healthcare.”

Dr. Laura Jannone, Coordinator of the School Nurse Program, agrees that, “the contested parts were leaving 24 million more Americans without insurance.”

Dr. Jannone also disagreed with defunding Planned Parenthood for a year, as she was a member of their board and believes that the services they provide to American citizens are imperative to reproductive health.

Emily Nieliwocki, a sophomore psychology student at MU, doesn’t agree with the Republican bill because it defunds Planned Parenthood.

“People don’t only go there for abortions,” Nielowocki said. They are also important for women’s health.

Trump said in an interview that he is willing to work to reform health care with bipartisan support: “If we don’t get what we want, we will make a deal with the Democrats and we will have in my opinion not as good a form of healthcare, but we are going to have a very good form of healthcare and it will be a bipartisan form.”

Dr. Patten said that the lack of support on repealing the Affordable Care Act “is a body blow to President Trump in that he was more outspoken against Obamacare than any other issue during his political rallies.” He continued, “It’s also very unusual for a Republican House to block a Republican President so early in his presidency.”