AHCA's Failure May Lead To Single-Payer Healthcare

  • Calvin Wolf
  • Mar 9, 2017 12:03PM

They sometimes say that anticipation is better than the actual event. Real life, in other words, often fails to live up to expectations. The romance will wane, the party will fizzle, the excitement will wear off.  From physical laws like the Law of Increasing Entropy to economic laws like the Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns to the principle of Occam’s Razor, it becomes clear that reality is often harsh, and complex systems are doomed to struggle. Enter healthcare in America.

For the last several years, we have had the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare. The controversial legislation forced health insurance companies to accept all applicants and provide more services than they had provided previously. In exchange, the insurers got lots more guaranteed customers through the law’s individual mandate, which forced citizens to purchase health insurance or pay a tax. For low-income citizens, government subsidies helped pay for health insurance. 

Conservatives bashed the ACA as big government and particularly loathed the individual mandate.  Liberals complained that the ACA did not provide enough help for the poor and did not force insurers to provide enough coverage. Few were happy, but most would begrudgingly admit that millions of previously-uninsured Americans gained some form of healthcare coverage. Republicans vowed, from day one, to repeal the law and replace it with something “better.”

Well, after a long delay, the Republican substitute for the ACA has been unveiled… and nobody is happy about it. The Obamacare replacement bill, dubbed AHCA (for American Health Care Act), was finally revealed by Republicans in the House of Representatives after weeks of anxiety. U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who had previously made waves by storming over to the House and demanding to see the bill, has declared it “dead on arrival.” Conservatives and liberals are already bashing AHCA, with conservatives calling it “Obamacare Lite,” and liberals claiming that millions of citizens will lose coverage.

Moderate Republicans are also in opposition due to AHCA’s paring back of Medicaid. Under Obamacare, states had the option to get expanded Medicaid funding. Some red states chose to accept Obamacare and its additional federal money, which means that those constituents now expect that level of government service and will vote against any elected official who tries to scale it back. It was one thing for the GOP to gripe about Obamacare and its many struggles, but to actually vote to repeal it is a whole different beast.

The American Health Care Act is dead on arrival because it fails on virtually all fronts compared to its predecessor.