Thanks, Obamacare!

obamacareJaelynn Hart / Staff Writer

How many people would lose their lives if the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act succeeds? The results of this harrowing question are uncertain but statistics estimate it’ll be around 28,000 to 100,000 people per year.

This is a shocking outcome for an effort that is essentially aimed at pulling billions of extra dollars into the pockets of the wealthy from tax cuts. Therefore, it is no surprise that Republican and conservative supporters of Congress have denied that anything of the sort would happen; they go as far as to say, “We would not have individuals lose coverage that they want for themselves and for their family.” Some supporters went even further, claiming that the argument that the repeal would cost thousands of lives as some sort of vilification, bringing an old debater’s trick into play by washing the argument  as “out-of-order.”

The bill itself, labeled the Graham-Cassidy bill, is named after the two Senators that sponsor it, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; it would undo most of the Affordable Care Act and shrink the budgets for Medicare and other federal healthcare programs. The remaining money from this would be turned over to the states, who would have to devise their own healthcare systems. The bill would also undermine the protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

A spokesperson from the American Hospital Association stated, “This proposal would erode key protections for patients and consumers and does nothing to stabilize the insurance market now or in the long term. In addition, the block grant to provide support for the expansion population expires in 2026, thereby eliminating coverage for millions of Americans. Conservative commentator, Avik Roy, on the other hand, has defended the repeal bill in his recent tweet where he wrote, “I’m very open to thoughtful critiques of the Senate bill from the left. ‘MILLIONS WILL DIE’ is not it.”

This past Sunday, September 24th, Republican Senator Ted Cruz himself claimed that he doesn’t support the repeal plan. “Right now, they don’t have my vote,” Cruz announced during a panel discussion at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, “and I don’t think they have Mike Lee’s vote either.” Reporters have claimed that the new bill does not address Cruz’s concerns to bring down the cost of healthcare.

Despite the sponsors’ optimism, this past Saturday, September 23rd, Republicans admitted defeat on repealing Obamacare this time. At the start of the year, the House and Senate passed reconciliation instructions allowing them to pass Obamacare repeal through the Senate on a simple majority vote; however, that budget tool expires on Saturday, putting them back at square one. After seven years of campaign promises, the Senate has given up on a last-grasp Obamacare repeal bill from Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy. Despite his absence, we can once again say thanks, Obama!

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