By Chris Carney
Since it was signed into law in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has faced persistent attacks — primarily from Republicans, but strangely from the left as well.
Since taking over Congress in 2011, Republicans have voted more than 70 times to eliminate the ACA. Either because they couldn’t stand to give Obama a win on a significant piece of legislation, or because they believed it was morally acceptable to deny people with pre-existing conditions access to health care, they reflexively voted to get rid of the ACA. But as far as the ACA went in providing for life- and money-saving checkups, lifting the cap on lifetime benefits, providing women the same insurance rates as men, and lowering the budget deficit $143 billion by 2022, it is still not enough for many who believe in “Medicare for All.”
At first glance, Medicare for All presents itself as an option that would provide Americans the coverage they deserve.
However, the arguments employed by Medicare for All advocates display a lack of understanding about the negative implications of a single-payer system, particularly under this administration.
The simplicity of this “solution” is a facade to the risky nature of single-payer.Implementation of this system would strip many Americans of their health care coverage. Polls have shown that many Americans incorrectly believe that they would be able to keep their current coverage under Medicare for All.
Now don’t get me wrong, I support the goal of strengthening and expanding the quality and coverage of health care for every American.
But a “one size fits all” system has never been the answer for our diverse nation, and it is not the answer now. Instead of allowing President Trump to use a single-payer health care system as a tool to push the conservative agenda, allowing him and the GOP to divide Democrats on what should be a winning issue, it is our duty as Democrats to focus on tangible solutions.
During my time in Congress, I voted for the Affordable Health Care for America Act and the Affordable Care Act because they presented attainable, sustainable, and concrete ways to provide my constituents and all Americans the health care coverage they deserve. The ACA proved to be a successful first step in doing just that.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 150 million people receive coverage through their employers, and another 163 million are covered under Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, federal employee and union plans. But Medicare for All would cause 91 percent of these Americans to lose their current health care plans. The solution to this potential catastrophe? Forgo “repeal and replace” efforts and focus on repairing the ACA.
While the ACA may not be perfect, it has increased coverage for millions of Americans. In Pennsylvania, 1.1 million people under 65 have health coverage because of the ACA. Indeed, in my district, 33,000 families and individuals received health care under the Affordable Care Act.
With their best interests in mind, I voice my steadfast support for the ACA.
The time has come to dismiss fallacious promises of Medicare for All and focus on improving the parts of the ACA that do not work and expanding the parts that do.