This year’s mid-term elections are already a life and death vote (OPINION)
Despite years of sabotage from the Trump Administration, a GOP House, a GOP Senate, and a consortium of GOP Attorneys General, their failed efforts to destroy the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA or Obamacare, are STILL very much alive and should play a major role in this year’s mid-term elections.
The June 2021 landmark 7-2 Supreme Court ruling in favor of the ACA, many thought the repeal efforts were finally over. However, on Monday, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) openly stated that repealing health care is still in play. The Washington Post reports he told right-wing Breitbart radio this about the GOP’s plan to win back Congress this year and the White House in 2024:
If Republicans also won the White House in 2024, he added, that would be when they could “actually make good on what we established as our priorities. For example, if we’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare — I still think we need to fix our health-care system — we need to have the plan ahead of time so that once we get in office, we can implement it immediately, not knock around like we did last time and fail,” Johnson said
Led by Sen. Mitch McConnell and a succession of far-right House GOP members, Republicans held no less than 70 futile votes to repeal the ACA in an eight-year period, targeting its pre-existing conditions coverage specifically, which is by far the most important part of the landmark law. Our media acted as if it was normal for a major political party to stop the agenda of Washington in order to seek to destroy a major sector of the economy for ideological reasons and to give its donors a tax cut.
If Republicans win back majorities in the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections and if they win the White House in 2024, do you think they’ll be busy trying to tear down America’s most important healthcare law, again?
Can it happen? Can Republicans destroy modern healthcare in America? It can happen.
Since President Biden took office, Obamacare has been more popular than ever. The White House announced last year that 31 million Americans now have healthcare coverage through the ACA, breaking new records since the law was enacted in 2010.
A Health and Human Services (HHS) report also shows that there have been drastic reductions in uninsurance rates in every state in the country since the law’s coverage expansions took effect. People served by the health Marketplaces and Medicaid expansion has reached record highs. But there are still many states, each GOP leaning, who have chosen not to expand Medicaid with GOP-controlled Texas and Florida being the two largest states to withhold healthcare from residents.
Thanks to the Democratic congressional majority in the House and Senate, the American Rescue Plan Act was passed in March 2021. This bill made individual marketplace plans more affordable than ever before. A substantial number of Americans became eligible for financial assistance for purchasing a health care plan through the ACA’s marketplaces.
Democratic members of Congress had hoped to extend these subsidies and enhance health care through the Build Back Better Act, but it is currently stalled in the Senate. Without passing BBBA, the enhanced subsidies are scheduled to expire at the end of 2022, shortly after the November 2022 Midterms. If the GOP gains a majority, hopes of extending enrichments to health care die along with this bill.
As a patient advocate who has held over 600 meetings with U.S. Congress members and their staffers, I get asked this question a lot, “I’m just one person. Does my vote matter?” My answer is always the same: “Yes and vote democrat, because they have proven endlessly, they want to protect our care.”
It’s no truer now than it was in 2016, 2018, and 2020. In 2022 every American invested in health care must vote for Democratic members of Congress in the next elections.
As Senator Johnson has already stated, they’re already coming for your health care.
This November in the mid-term elections, vote like your life depends on it because it does!
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Peter is an opinion columnist, healthcare and disability advocate, father to Anjelika.