I was struck by the way in which, in this campaign season, health care has become a campaign issue, and not just because of the president’s refusal to release his tax returns.
Rather, it’s because the Republicans have taken on a health care problem that has become more acute as a result of the Republican Party’s refusal — or, rather, unwillingness — to embrace any health care proposals that could have a positive impact on the nation’s health.
The GOP’s approach to health care was first articulated by the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, in the wake of the pandemic, when he said that the Affordable Care Act had to be “freed up” to create “a new American health care system” that would provide “more choice, more choice.”
That “new American health system” Romney referred to is a system that is not only the product of the ACA, but has been the most heavily subsidized health care program in the history of the country, with the nation spending over $4 trillion annually on the program.
If health care is the “new” American system, then the Republicans should embrace the idea of reforming health care so that it is more equitable, more transparent, more fair, and, above all, that it provides more choice.
Instead, Republicans have chosen instead to defend the ACA’s core structure and to defend that system by trying to deny Americans the same choices that they had before the ACA.
At the heart of the health care debate in the United States is a question of how to pay the bills, and that is the underlying question that drives the entire health care discourse in this country.
The answer is not that we don’t want to pay, it is that we cannot afford it.
As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted recently, we cannot continue to pay nearly as much as we do today to cover our health care costs.
We can only afford to pay as much that we have left over to cover costs in a way that allows us to afford health care.
“We cannot afford to spend money we cannot pay.”
The Republican Party has tried to defend this system of “defending” the ACA by arguing that we should “pay more” because the law is “not working.”
But if we are not going to pay more to cover health care, why do we need to defend it at all?
If we are going to continue paying more to support the ACA — and pay it to pay its bills — why not just pay more for everything else?
As the American Medical Association’s Dr. Stephen Nissen wrote in a recent letter, “We cannot pay more.
We cannot afford the costs of covering all of the costs.”
We cannot continue spending more money to cover more people.
If the Republicans are serious about making health care “work” for Americans, then they should take a page from the health-care reform playbook and make the ACA “work.”
Instead, they have instead tried to “defend” the system by arguing against the very idea of health care reform.
In the meantime, the American people have become increasingly disenchanted with the ACA and the Republican response to it.
In fact, we have been left with the dubious distinction of being the only major nation in the world to experience a full-fledged health-related crisis.
The American public is increasingly frustrated with both the Republican political and economic leadership in Washington, D.C. The president, despite his rhetoric to the contrary, has failed to make significant progress on improving the ACA; his party has failed in its efforts to repeal the law; and the president has been unable to convince Americans that the American health-system is “working” for them.
As a result, many Americans have been looking to the Republicans as a vehicle for furthering their grievances.
And, as this year’s midterm elections approach, the Republicans’ continued failure to reform the ACA is threatening to become even more prominent in the presidential race.
This is why I think it’s so important to focus on the future of health reform, and why I believe it’s critical for the next generation of Republicans to do the same.
Republicans have the opportunity to put health care back on the national agenda.
The current administration, despite being in office for less than a year, is not doing that.
And the Republican-controlled Congress is not poised to act on any of the proposals that are being proposed by President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and congressional leaders.
This is why, if Republicans are going forward with any agenda or agenda proposals, it must begin by focusing on the American public’s desire for health care to be affordable, accessible, and accessible for all.
That is, if we’re going to have any chance of making the health system “work,” then we have to start addressing the growing public dissatisfaction with the current health care systems that have been created.
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