On Jan. 12, the United States Senate, in the dead of night, took the first steps to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — commonly known as Obamacare.
In a partisan 51-48 vote, the Senate allowed Obamacare to enter into budget reconciliation, which means when the actual repeal vote comes to the floor, it cannot be filibustered.
All day before, Democrats introduced a series of amendments aimed at protecting many of the fundamental laws that make up Obamacare: protecting kids, women and seniors from undue burdens, discrimination, and uncertainty in the healthcare marketplace.
Every amendment failed to pass, never reaching the 60 vote threshold.
In other words, Republicans (minus Susan Collins of Maine) voted to pull the rug out from underneath America’s most vulnerable.
Struggling college kids making ends meet on a minimum wage job will not be able to stay on their parents’s plans until they’re 26.
Women will not be protected from discriminatory insurance plans that charge them more just for being a woman. Nor will they be protected from denial due to a preexisting condition, which can include needing birth control or pregnancy.
Insurance companies will now be able to charge whatever they want for whatever reason they want, and will be able to drop anyone they want just because that someone becomes sick.
Senior citizens will see a cut to their Medicare and Medicaid, entitlements they have paid into for their entire lives.
Rural communities will see a major loss of funding for their hospitals, causing some people the burden of having to drive hours just to see a doctor.
All of this, of course, will only happen if the GOP controlled Congress votes to repeal Obamacare in its entirety.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, repealing Obamacare would result in 32 million people losing health insurance, many of whom have it for the first time, and would double the price of insurance premiums within a decade.
Republicans are going through with this without a concrete replacement.
For seven years, the GOP has been promising a repeal-and-replace, but the truth is, they have no replacement. In fact, they have just now begun to craft one, and they can’t even agree on it — will it be “insurance for all” as Trump promises? Will it be back to square one? Will it keep Obamacare’s most popular provisions in place? Who knows.
All these uncertainties might have something to do with why the law is the most popular it’s ever been.
The American public is on edge, and they have every right to be. The future of American healthcare is on the brink of a total death spiral.
Republicans are about to release the biggest Kraken in American politics, and they seem completely oblivious to it.
While they collect their government subsidized healthcare, they prepare to take ours away.