Nothing evokes passion more than the healthcare debate in America. After all, healthcare represents approximately 18% of the total GDP of our economy. It effects just about everyone in the country in some form or the other and the cost keeps rising at unsustainable levels. Most of the country seems divided on what to do about healthcare and the United States Congress reflects this division. Who can forget the debate over The Affordable Care Act(ACA) in 2009 and 2010? Many things were said, many outright lies were told and in the end, the American people were left with a law that registered high levels of disapproval. But as we flash forward to 2018 opinions on the ACA have changed. A recent poll by the Kaiser Foundation in February found that 54% of the American people now approve of the ACA while 42% disapprove. In other words as the law has become a part of life in this country and millions have achieved coverage for the first time it’s become quite apparent that the law is working as intended. Is the law perfect? No, but we’re far better off with the ACA than without it. Which raises an important question and goes to the heart of where the two political parties stand when it comes to healthcare: Why has the Republican Party done everything in it’s power to destroy the ACA? It’s pretty simple really. The Republican Party does not believe healthcare is a right while the Democratic Party does.
To be sure, republican politicians will tell us they want the free market to decide how healthcare should be administered. Many will not answer directly whether they think healthcare is a right or privilege but it’s clear where they stand. They would love nothing better than to dismantle Medicare, Medicaid, and the ACA. They would much rather leave it to insurance companies and the so-called free market to decide medical issues in this country. Democrats do not agree with this. Look, the ACA has it’s flaws, but it can and should be improved. The problem is we have one political party that wants to improve it and another that wants to destroy it.
So, while the ACA is the law of the land it doesn’t mean all democrats believe it to be the long term answer. There are other ideas out there and most of those ideas come from the philosophy that healthcare is indeed a right. If you do not believe it’s a right then these other ideas will not appeal to you. However, if you believe healthcare is a right these ideas should be open for debate. As President Obama had said during the debate over the ACA, if this were a perfect world and we were starting from the beginning, a Medicare for all national healthcare plan would have been the way to go. He decided the ACA was a better fit and would cause the least amount of economic anxiety. But, could we enact a universal healthcare plan without a huge disruption to our economy?
Recently, a plan was introduced by the Center for American Progress called Medicare Extra. It’s detailed and worthy of debate. We should look at the plan as an alternative as well as a possible on ramp to universal healthcare without a major disruption to our economy. If you feel healthcare is a right, this plan may resonate with you. If you feel healthcare is a privilege, it will not.