Republican Healthcare Plan Could Be The Gateway To A Single-Payer System

The Republicans recently unveiled their alternative to Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and their plan to overhaul the broken healthcare system of the United States is being greeted mostly with scorn by healthcare advocacy groups and by Americans who are concerned with how it will impact their health insurance coverage.

According to Time, the American Medical Association has come out in opposition to the Republican healthcare bill on the grounds that it will lead to people losing their health insurance.

The American Medical Association said the bill “would result in millions of Americans losing coverage and benefits,” adding that it will make coverage “more expensive — if not out of reach — for poor and sick Americans.”

The AARP, an association of retired Americans that counts 38 million members, has added that the Republican healthcare plan will greatly increase health care costs for Americans aged 50 to 64, likely leading to some of those people no longer being able to afford coverage.

The Republican goal with the bill is to reduce the role of the federal government in healthcare. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has come out in support of the bill due to it supposedly offering greater choices to Americans attempting to buy health insurance. However, the Republicans admit that fewer people will likely be covered under their health care bill than are currently covered under the Affordable Care Act, according to Time. This is because the Republican plan replaces the income-based subsidies in place under the Affordable Care Act with age-based tax credits. The plan also reduces federal funding for Medicaid for low-income Americans. Currently, about 20 percent of Americans meet income-based eligibility requirements for Medicare.

The Republican healthcare plan could be described as the party playing with electoral fire. Emboldened by sweeping wins across the country led by the election of Donald Trump as President, the Republicans likely feel that they are winning an ideological battle for the minds of the American people. However, people tend to think less ideologically than pragmatically when it comes to matters of vital importance to themselves and their families. Healthcare is such an area where Americans are less driven by ideological concerns than by how policies will impact their day-to-day lives.

In a 2016 Gallup poll, 58 percent of Americans said they would favor repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with a federally funded, single-payer program such as the kind of healthcare system in place in Canada. If the Republican healthcare plan starts to cause problems for Americans, it’s quite possible this percentage could start to drastically increase.

Even Donald Trump has in the past voiced support for the idea of a single-payer healthcare system. Most recently, Trump appeared on an episode of 60 Minutes in September of 2015, where he suggested some support for the idea, according to Independent Journal Review.

“Everybody’s got to be covered,” Trump said. “This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, ‘No, no, the lower 25 percent that can’t afford private. But I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”

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Running for the Democratic Party nomination, Bernie Sanders excited a lot of people over his call for a Medicare-for-all plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Sanders tried, but was not successful, in getting the Democratic Party to adopt the idea as part of its official platform. One can only wonder had Clinton adopted the idea if she would have garnered the necessary votes to beat Donald Trump.

A considerable number of people believe healthcare is a right and that it’s a right worth fighting for. After the meager attempt at healthcare reform put forth by the Democrats, it is possible that the Republican healthcare solution will bring better results. But if it too fails to solve the healthcare crisis, the Republican healthcare plan could very well go down in history as the gateway to a single-payer healthcare system in the United States.

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