Republicans Are Wrong, Repealing Obamacare Would be a National Disaster

Millions of Americans, especially people of color, will be worse off if Republicans gut the Affordable Care Act

healthcare
We Love Obamacare Rally in support of the Affordable Care Act in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington DC. (Image: Flickr/Creative Commons/LaDawna Howard)

On January 12, House Speaker Paul Ryan held a town hall meeting hosted by CNN. It was the speaker’s first chance in 2017 to directly address the American people on the Republican Party’s plans for the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare, if ya nasty). For the last eight years, Ryan and the GOP have fought tooth and nail to repeal the bill that expanded coverage to over 20 million people. With Donald Trump as president and a Republican majority in both the House and Senate, there is absolutely nothing in the way of stopping them from accomplishing this goal.

Unfortunately, as much as the GOP has gone out of their way to criticize President Barack Obama’s flagship bill, they don’t have anything that would be nearly as effective. Which brings us back to CNN’s town hall. After sprinkling the audience with half-answers and inaccurate information about the ACA and Planned Parenthood, Ryan was confronted by a former Republican by the name of Jeff Jeans. Jeff was diagnosed with cancer and given just six weeks to live, however, he told Ryan that access to affordable health insurance literally saved his life. If we repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Jeff Jeans of the world will no longer exist—they will die—and millions of Americans, specifically people of color, will be worse off.

Protect Health Care for all, Tell Congress not to Take our Health Care!

Stop listening to Donald Trump and the Republican Partythe ACA has changed millions of lives. According to the Urban Institute, an estimated 19.2 million non-elderly people gained health insurance coverage from 2010 to 2015, including 2.8 million African Americans and 6.2 million Hispanic Americans. Those numbers matter. Under our previous system, the Hunger Games, more than 20% of African Americans, and 32% of Hispanic Americans did not have health insurance at all. 

You read that right—before the ACA, there were more than 10 million African Americans and Latino Americans walking around with zero access to affordable health insurance. People of color live in a country that was built on and still thrives off of the institution of racism, so is it too much to ask for health insurance that allows them to see a therapist to deal with the plague of problematic white people?

Protect Health Care for all, Tell Congress not to Take our Health Care!

It is frightening how little people actually know about Obamacare, but there is no confusion on how that happened. Republicans have made it their mission to confuse people into thinking that gutting the closest thing we have to universal health insurance is a good thing. Along with the millions of people that will lose coverage, a repeal would send the country into another recession. According to the Milken Institute School of Public Health, the end of Obamacare could lead to 2.6 million jobs lost by the year 2019—that’s an average of 100,000 jobs lost per month over two years. At the height of the great recession, the country was losing 700,000 a month, are you really interested in going back to that? According to that same report:

“Every state would experience major job losses.  Almost all of the jobs lost are in the private sector. Almost a million (912,000) are in health care, while the remaining two-thirds are in other industries, including construction, real estate, retail trade, finance and insurance.”

When you can’t afford health insurance, your chances for death are a lot higher. And sure, no matter what you do, death is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you should give people an express pass to die. That is literally what the Republican Party is trying to do when they keep people away from something as basic as affordable access to a doctor. As a result, they are being sentenced to death. According to a recent study from the American Journal of Public Health, nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with lack of health insurance.

I’m not sure when this happened, but the politics of our country has become so toxic that we now value ideology more than people. The reason 45 million people were uninsured before Obamacare is because our system was broken. And while there are flaws in the law, they could easily be addressed by our elected leaders if they worked with President Obama. Instead of putting country first, they embraced racism and obstruction.

Obamacare was the redistribution of wealth that Sen. Bernie Sanders always bragged about, but done so subtly, that no one ever noticed. It empowered millions with insurance and created jobs, it helped people with pre-existing conditions and protected the reproductive rights of women. It was an imperfect bill that got us further than we ever thought possible, and now a group of bitter white men have the power to take it all away.

 

 

 


WHCRStanley Fritz is the Communications Associate at Citizen Action of New York, and the Engineer/Co-Host of “Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio.”

 

 

The opinions expressed in this piece belong to the individual author. 

 
  • Alan Stein

    Your article is a powerful indictment of the pervasive, sinister impact of racism. The election of Donald Trump has made me ashamed as an American, ashamed as a man, and, most specifically, ashamed as a white man. I am not, however, ashamed as a Democrat because I continue to believe that Hillary Clinton would have been an excellent President, and also because she received almost 3 million more votes than the “winner” did.

    You point out, correctly, that people of color will be disproportionately impacted by the repeal of Obamacare, and the end result will be a spike in the number of preventable deaths and disabilities.

    But I believe that you minimize the fact that these horrific impacts will effect all segments of society that lack sufficient resources to absorb the enormous costs of healthcare without the benefit of high comprehensive health insurance. Pathetically enough, this group includes many of the angry white men, and women, that comprised the racist Trump coalition.

    Like many millions of Americans, I am dreading January 20th, and the entire four-year span of the repressive regime that will follow. My only hope is that enough people will be inspired to fight back to effect meaningful change to what would otherwise to an unrelentingly bleak and dangerous period in our nation’s history.

  • Debra

    Thanks for your article it’s highly appreciated and facts need to be known and given to the public.

    The election was so very disturbing my friends and I watched the startling outcome. So unreal how our country thinks about what our country represent. I remember stating only in America can someone win by an emotionally hype campaign.

    Someone had mention to me his thoughts of the election after the election he stated didn’t want an African American. My reply was I disagreed by the outcome of Obama winning the second election but whether or not being ready for a female or breaking history twice might have been a better observation. No doubt President Obama is a leadership got him a second term. I believe it even brought President Obama to his knees that he won again so there it is for me!!!! I love the picture of President Obama being surrounded by mostly men and woman of God in prayer for his role as President of the United States no need to say more.

    The Affordable Care Act as I call but known as The Obama Care Act is a gift from the government to millions of people in more than one way.
    Let it stand as law as the president, senate, and house has pass it to be. President Obama health care is a gift of life to many citizens in our country. I was surprise of the resistance against the program and didn’t understand why picketers were insensitive close minded.

    In my community our thoughts were our country could do for people and proudly so. Well thanks to President Obama this law is one that law that he is proud of I would think. It did the most good for all people and greater than any other campaign out of the White House. I feel proud of being an African American and have lived to see change come to the White House!

    How can anyone not see the good of medical care for all people to assist in trying to keep America strong. A gigantic life changing law that sustain life to citizens and income to support households in our country. The President of the United States I respectfully will always honor him and his role as President of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

    The people of the United States of America are proud people but pride doesn’t save faith in action does.
    President Obama broke into a meeting being held by Foreign Leaders of China or Japan and Russia with cameras rolling! He thought about us when he did that. Just another fight he had to take upon himself to keep us safe. He’s focus and proud to be an American leader and a leader he is if ever there was one!! And as he promised by quote “Change is coming to the White House” and it most certainly has in a powerful and respectful way.

  • Problematic White Guy

    “Plague of problematic white people”? And they say black people can’t be racist.

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