Why Repealing the Affordable Care Act is So Hard for the GOP

How a healthcare repeal law is similar to a local community stopping garbage collection.



Once again, Congressional Republicans efforts to repeal-and-replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) look to be in a precarious position.


With Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas coming out against the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the bill doesn’t have enough Republican votes to meet the 50 vote threshold to get it passed. Add to that, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “Plan B” – to introduce a bill that would just repeal the ACA – looks to also be dead since he doesn’t have enough Republican votes to bring onto the floor.


Since the beginning of this year, Republicans have had a really hard time trying to get enough party support to push a healthcare bill through. As CNN analyst Fareed Zakaria explains, there are many reasons for this:



However, the best way to describe the Republicans’ plight with repealing-and-replacing the ACA, would be through the simple act of garbage collection.


Let us explain.



Garbage Collection as a Vital Service in Local Municipalities


For local municipalities, there’s an old saying that goes “the quickest way for a mayor to lose their office, would be to stop collecting the city’s garbage.” While that piece of advice might sound odd, in reality, it hits on a central truth between governments and people’s expectation of government services.


Citizens rely on government services everyday ranging from the upkeep of local parks and playgrounds to local road crews maintaining sidewalks and streets. One of those vital government services that many local municipalities provide is garbage collection. And if you want to see a community turn on a local government, just stop the collecting of garbage in the area.



As the above video of the 1968 New York Garbage Strike shows, once people have a government service provided to them, taking it away just makes people incredibly upset. The same can be said for the access of affordable health insurance under the ACA.



How Garbage Collection and the ACA Go Hand-in-Hand


People tend to forget that one of the main cornerstones of the ACA had been Medicaid expansion. Under the ACA (aka Obamacare), 20 million individuals had gained insurance under the new healthcare statute. This of course, is in stark contrast with various other Republican healthcare plans that focuses on reducing the overall cost on the federal government.


The Congressional Budget Office’s assessment of the House’s healthcare bill – American Health Care Act (AHCA) – said it best, “enacting the American Health Care Act would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over the coming decade and increase the number of people who are uninsured by 24 million in 2026 relative to current law.” In other words, you can’t cut the cost of healthcare on the federal government without leaving millions of people uninsured.


And that’s where the problem lies with Republican plans to repeal-and-replace the ACA.


For many Americans, affordable healthcare has become a service that is expected because of the ACA. Similar to local municipalities providing garbage collection service, many Americans now have an expectation of the government to provide affordable healthcare or have them be eligible for Medicaid.



Polls and public demonstrations against the various GOP healthcare plans show that affordable healthcare is a service that is expected by millions in the US, even by individuals in majority Republican districts. If the Congressional GOP wants to pass healthcare legislation, it needs to make sure millions of individuals will not lose access to affordable healthcare. Because access to affordable healthcare has become expected by millions of Americans, whether Congressional Republicans like it or not.



(Photo Credit: Pixabay.com)


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