Republicans have been salivating for years over gutting the Affordable Care Act (ACA) dubbed by conservatives as ObamaCare. With the election of President-elect Donald Trump, President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare legislation — which has brought 20 million people, including more than 6 million young adults, onto the health care rolls — is now clearly in their gun sights.
As the GOP race to repeal large parts of the ACA, they are leaving behind nearly everyone but their base voters and a handful of conservative activists. Not a single major organization representing patients, physicians, hospitals or others who work in the nation’s healthcare system backs the GOP’s ObamaCare strategy.
New polls also show far more Americans would like to expand or keep the healthcare law, rather than repeal it.
Even many conservative health policy experts caution that the emerging Republican plan, which calls for a vote this month, to roll back insurance coverage followed by a lengthy period to develop a replacement, could be disastrous.
If all ObamaCare goes away, including its funding sources, where does the money come from to continue the insurance for the 20 million newly insured under the Affordable Care Act?
Any new reform proposal should not cause individuals currently covered to become uninsured,” cautioned Dr. Andrew W. Gurman, president of the American Medical Assn., the nation’s largest physicians’ group.
In 2009 and 2010, the AMA was among the key groups in the healthcare debate, along with the American Hospital Assn., the American College of Physicians, AARP and other patient advocates who supported the law and its promise of extending health protections to millions of Americans. Many of these groups would like to see changes made to the law, which even supporters say needs revision.
“When people get cancer, they have to know that they are going to have insurance,” said Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society’s advocacy arm. “There have been and are problems with the ACA, but we have to make sure that what is done and the way it is done is not going to leave people who have cancer or who may get cancer … in the lurch.”
The reticence is mirrored in public views of the GOP repeal campaign.
Although Republicans strongly support it, most Americans do not, according to recent polls.