Editorials and Opinions

ObamaCare Repeal: Will it actually happen?

By Hattie Gawande
Published: December 2010

The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care for America Act’€known as, according to right-wing Yahoo! Bloggers, “The Apocalypse, “The Making Grandma Shovel-Ready Act of 2010, “Screw the American People so that the Narcissists can have a Legacy, or simply, the health care bill’€was passed on March 23, 2010.
Rasmussen Reports, an American polling company, immediately set up a poll tallying whether voters wanted the bill repealed. The numbers fluctuated in the months that followed, but a slim majority has always been in favor of repeal.
The most recent tally from November 29, however, showed that almost 60 percent of those polled are in favor of rolling back the bill. Republicans, with their recent win in the House, have exploited this support with renewed promises of repeal.
So will the bill, which took President Obama almost two years to pass, be revoked?
In a nutshell, no. Not if Republicans want to enjoy their newfound popularity among voters.
You see, before the bill was passed insurers had the power to deny anyone, including children, with preexisting conditions access to health care. Depending on the company, preexisting conditions could be defined as anything from lung cancer to high blood pressure. Domestic violence was in many cases considered a preexisting condition.
Stories abounded about children with asthma and other minor conditions being denied access to their parents’ plans and about women whose husbands beat them being unable to find an insurer who would provide them with a plan.
The health care bill now prohibits insurers from denying children access to health coverage on the basis of preexisting conditions. This provision will be extended to adults in 2014.
The thing is that the provision relies on the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to buy health insurance, the number one problem Republicans have with the bill. Getting rid of the individual mandate would mean getting rid of protection for those with preexisting conditions.
The individual mandate may not make voters particularly happy, but preexisting condition protection is a right the public is entitled to. So the answer is simple, right? Don’t repeal the bill.
Wrong. Somehow in the controversy before and after the bill’s passing, Republicans with the help of right-wing advocates and bloggers, were able to convince the public that the bill would instead do the opposite. Over half of the population believes that the bill will now let health insurers have their way with us.Hence the reason behind a Yahoo! blogger who called the bill, “The-Kill-Grandma-With-a- Pillow-So-She-No-Longer-Has-a-Preexisting-Condition-Plan.
Republicans have catered to the public’s ill-will towards the bill, declaring that the bill goes against American values and will take away our freedom and all these accusations without actually discussing the content of the bill.
They’re more than happy to tell voters that it will cost the country a fortune, that most Democrats haven’t read the bill, and that it’s socialist, unconstitutional and anti-American. But they haven’t bothered to tell us that repealing the bill will mean kids with leukemia will be denied health coverage, that teenagers will be removed from their parents’ health plans the second they turn eighteen (the new bill lets those under twenty-seven remain on their parents’ health plans), and that the coverage gap for the Medicare provision for prescription drugs for seniors, which Republicans backed in 2003, will be uncovered once again.
Basically, the minute Republicans get serious about repealing health care all of this will be revealed to voters, and the GOP’s popularity will drop again.
In short, the Republicans will never repeal health care. If they were actually to attempt such a thing, not only would they most likely lose but their approval ratings would be knocked down. The GOP is enjoying its renewed popularity among voters far too much to risk it.
Despite this, the controversy over the health care bill isn’t just going to die down. Sometime in the very near future the Republicans will have to face the fact that the public is going to find out the truth about the bill and the specific benefits it covers. The GOP may be safe for now, but it won’t last long.

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