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The First Act of 2017: Abolish Obamacare?
12/24/2016 Health Care Raymond Z
keywords: Obamacare

With the new year comes a new legislature, and in 2017, a new president. Republicans and the President-elect have, in the past, vowed to “eliminate”, “abolish”, and “repeal” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare. However, as the deadline for open enrollment comes to a close, millions more of Americans have been signing up for it. While it may have been a popular position in the campaign, the realty of abolishing the ACA may be more complex than a popular slogan. Will the first act of the new legislature and presidency be to abolish Obamacare? Not likely.

Pay Attention to the Language

While months, and even weeks ago, it was popular for the right to use powerful words like “abolish” and “repeal” when it came to the ACA, we are now hearing a shift in the tone. We are now hearing language like “adjust” and “rethink”. In many instances, “eliminate Obamacare” has been replaced with “”eliminate parts of Obamacare”. Pay attention to the language now being used. It would indicate the abolishment of Obamacare won't happen. Why?

Adjusting the ACA

A recent Washington Post article indicated sign-ups for the ACA were up from last year, with 25% of those being first -time registrants. The Left would view this as a mandate to keep Obamacare. The Right, however, has made it clear since 2010 that they were on a mission to get rid of it. Articles in the New York Post,  Bloomberg and others have said that as little as a week after the election, Mr. Trump had stated he wants to keep parts of Obamacare, including popular provisions like those addressing pre-exisiting conditions and the length of time children can stay covered under the policies of their parents. This gives every indication that Obamacare won't in fact be scrapped, but instead “adjusted”. Why the change? Because it works for both sides of the aisle. Republicans can say they won by changing the ACA and Democrats can take solace in that their efforts over the last seven years weren't abandoned. The really odd and interesting part is that in the end, the American public may just end up winning. How's that for a twist?

Stepping Back From the Ledge

The reality is there are parts of the ACA that are valuable to so many Americans. There are also some parts that actually hamper access to quality medical care. Uncompromising language like "abolish" is not helpful. Both parties need to step back and focus on what's next. After all, isn't THAT was good government is supposed to be about?

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