IT’S DÉJÁ VU all over again as the much-anticipated vote for another version of the health care bill—which President Donald Trump and the Republicans wish to pass to repeal and replace Obamacare —has been delayed once again because of lack of support even among GOPs in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been pushing for a vote before the Fourth of July break but Republicans won’t all get on board to pass the bill that has been a revision of the first bill that the House of Representatives could not pass the first time around.
With the Democrats totally against any effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act that has helped cover millions of uninsured Americans, the Trump’s party could only afford to lose two votes among Republicans. But as of Tuesday, about five Republican senators have signified their stances to NOT support the bill, either because it was not too conservative enough in fighting against entitlements, or that it would cause their constituents who are already being helped by Obamacare to lose the health care benefits they are now enjoying.
The recently released report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) did not help the Republicans’ cause as much as they thought it would in selling their health care bill to their constituents.
The CBO estimates that by the year 2026, 46 million Americans would be uninsured compared to 28 million who are uninsured under Obamacare.
Those who would be most vulnerable under the Republican Senate health care bill would be adults under 65, the elderly, the working poor on Medicaid, the middle class, women, those who use mental health services, and those with disabilities and pre-existing conditions.
Those who would benefit most are wealthy Americans who would enjoy about $563 billion in tax cuts over 10 years.
The CBO report further reveals that the Senate plan would lead to an estimated $321 billion in deficit reduction from 2017-2026. However, the savings would be coming mostly from Medicaid, which the CBO estimates to fall by 26 percent by 2026 as compared to Obamacare.
While Obamacare may have features that would have to be improved or modified, why throw away the Affordable Care Act if it has been helping so many? Why rush the Republican health care bill to a vote when it does not have the support of most Americans? According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, only 17 percent of Americans approve of the bill, which includes less than half of Republicans.
To repeal Obamacare has been the obsession and the campaign promise of Republicans since the day it was signed into law. Yet, up to now, the party of Trump has not offered a viable solution to the health care problem that can and will benefit most Americans.
Shouldn’t the Republicans just keep Obamacare and work with Democrats to address the problems of the current health care law? Or are they just motivated by the goal to erase the landmark legacy of the first African American president?
* * *
Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos