Time to Fix Obamacare

This is the note I just sent my congressional representative;

Now that the republicans have tried and failed to repeal the ACA, it’s time for dems to step up and propose their own fixes to the actual problems the ACA has created. It would be a mistake to follow the Republicans tactic during the Obama years of simply sitting on our hands and letting the other side flounder. It would also be a mistake not to admit that there are problems created by the ACA that need to be fixed. Show the American people that dems are capable of governing better; come up with a plan that will fix the ACA, reduce premiums, close the gaps, and increase coverage. All the better if it can reduce costs to American taxpayers. Show us the dems have a plan other than just being the party of “no” for the next 4 years. It doesn’t need to have a chance of passing, it just needs to show people that dems are the party of ideas and leadership.


I like the idea of Medicare For All as a simple way to expand the options and increase competition. I’m not sure it fixes all the problems of Obamacare, and I’m not sure about the costs, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Whatever the dems come up with, it’s got to be clean and simple. It’s got to trim the complexity away from the ACA rather than add more. It’s got to be something that can be clearly communicated to the American people, and as I said above, ideally it would reduce costs overall; or shift costs to employers rather than government or individuals.


Count on Trump and the Republicans to be thinking of ways to sabotage the operation of the ACA, while blaming it on Obama of course. That’s Trump’s “Plan B”.


That, of course, has already started. And it’s what makes a democratic alternative all the more important.


What I like about it most is that it’s easy for people to grasp. Americans know Medicare, they like Medicare, and “everyone gets Medicare” makes sense. It doesn’t fix everything, but it’s a big step towards single-payer.


I was with you right up until this :

It’s like telling a guy at bat that all he has to do is hit the ball instead of telling him that he can hit a homerun. Granted, in this political climate, it probably won’t pass, but there’s no reason to start off being so cynical.

First, nothing penned by a democrat would have a chance of passing. The republicans have shown much less willingness to work across the aisle than the dems. Second, one does not start a negotiation by offering compromise. Finally, the way to win hearts and minds is ideological, not pragmatic. There will be time enough for horse trading, so we might as well start from a position of principle rather than weakness. So I would say not only doesn’t it have to have a chance of passing, it should have no chance of passing.

To further use the baseball analogy, even if your team is down 20 points, you still try to hit the homerun. The goal of proposing new legislation is to get it passed. If it doesn’t but still shows that the Dems are a party serious about governing, then all the better, but the goal should be to get it passed, otherwise, it’s just more of the bullshit kabuki theater that we don’t need.

If politics worked like baseball, I’d agree completely.

The goal should be to have something good. If it’s good, then even if it doesn’t pass now, it can be tried again later.

To torture the baseball analogy even more, you don’t always try to hit a homerun. Getting a decent hit that helps the whole team move forward is often the better option. If the opportunity presents itself, then sure, go for it, but…


The big problem is that Trump’s executive actions and the GOP have chipped out many of the things that make the ACA an effective law in the first place, most importantly, the individual mandate. The whole idea was to give citizens a marketplace where they could shop for plans and insurance companies could ‘fight’ for your business, in the same way someone might buy plane tickets on Hipmunk. Without the government offering policies on the exchange and with Trump trying to undermine the individual mandate, he’s trying hard to shake the foundations of the entire law and collapse it.

Happily, there’s enough safeguards to prevent the ACA from “exploding” or “imploding” or whatever violent metaphor they want to use today, but I hope the Dems can at least shore it up for a few years until it can be fixed.

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