Like most of the charges that Republicans threw at the Affordable Care Act over the past six years, the accusation that it was a “job-killer” didn’t hold water. In fact, it was just the opposite. But if killing jobs is what opponents want, they can make it happen by eliminating key provisions of the health care law, which studies say could force an estimated 3 million people out of work.
Using a meat-ax instead of a scalpel, Senate Republicans last week began trying to dismember the law without offering a replacement or anticipating how their efforts would affect millions of citizens insured through the plan.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said of the GOP efforts, “They’re like the dog who caught the bus. They don’t know what to do with it … We’re (Democrats) going to tell America that they’re replacing affordable care with chaos.”
A Gallup poll in September showed 51 percent of Americans disapproved of ACA, and 44 percent approved. A poll by the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation focused on health care research, showed 77 percent of adults in marketplace plans like them, and 88 percent of those with Medicaid coverage under the ACA expansion are relatively satisfied with their coverage.
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More jobs, a modicum of public satisfaction and saving lives hasn’t stopped Republicans in Congress from labeling ACA a failure and trying 60 times to repeal all or parts of it since it became law in 2010.
Attitudes toward the law have followed party lines, not factual analysis. Opponents says it’s too expensive, too intrusive, difficult to navigate and doesn’t provide enough choices. Supporters like that people can’t be denied coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, that companies have to treat men and women equally regarding cost and that children can stay on their parent’s health care plan until age 26.
As much as Republicans like “job creators,” and as much as President-elect Donald Trump boasts about preserving American jobs, you’d think they’d recognize the ACA’s success in creating jobs and easing pressure on unemployment.
A study by the Commonwealth Fund and the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University says that if the tax credits and Medicaid expansion parts of the law are repealed in January 2019, about 2.6 million jobs would be lost, with the number increasing to nearly 3 million positions in health care and other sectors by 2021.
The right thing to do is keep the law in place, at least until an adequate replacement is devised. Americans dependent on the insurance, and the health care industry, which warns that repeal could be disastrous without a substitute, should not be quaking because of the Republican vendetta on Obamacare.