NEW HOPE FOR HEALTH CARE

At the very beginning of the Obama administration, in fact on the evening of his inauguration, the Republican leaders got together and decided that the best way for them to deal with the new president was to oppose absolutely everything he did.  So thorough going was their commitment to this approach that, when the new president endorsed a bill proposed by the Republicans, those very Republicans voted their own bill down.  That was a stupid, selfish, purely political policy, and it deeply wounded the American people and wasted eight years of what could have been an astounding advance in the peace and progress of this nation.

It would, therefore, be just as repugnant to take the same approach to the new Republican administration and Congress.  We need, rather, to rationally analyze the Republican proposals and endorse or oppose them on the merits.

The first act of the new Republican leaders is to announce that they will repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a health care program that will solve the failings that these leaders see in that act.  It was never quite clear what those failings were, but the Republicans have listed them for us.  We should hail them for announcing what those failures are and for promising to fix them.

First, the Republican leaders, most notably Vice-President-elect Michael Pence, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and House majority leader Paul Ryan, have announced that the premiums for insurance under the Affordable Care Act are too high.  We should, therefore, eagerly await a reduction in insurance premiums under Republican leadership.

Second, Republican leaders have announced that deductibles in the Affordable Care Act are too high.  We should, therefore, look forward to reduced deductibles along with reduced premiums.

Third, Republican leaders have pointed out that the Affordable Care Act did not allow the insureds to pick their own doctor or pick their own insurer.  We should be comforted by the fact that, under the new Republican leadership, we will be able to do both.

Finally, Republican leaders have complained that the Affordable Care Act did not accomplish its goal of providing insurance for everyone in America.  This is the heart of the matter, since, for various reasons, accomplishing universal health care will result in enormous savings both in the delivery of health care and in the administration of health insurance.  This will be a truly great accomplishment by the Republican administration, and it would show that the Republican leadership cares more about the needs of the people than it does about political power.

If these things are accomplished by the new Republican leadership, we should all congratulate them on their dedication to the American people.  They have the reins now, and they have made clear what they want to accomplish for us.  We will hold them to these promises, and we will give them every bit of recognition they deserve for what they accomplish.

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