Republicans have promised time and again to repeal Obamacare—not fix it, not try to make it better—they promised to repeal it.
Here are five reasons the American Health Care Act put forward by GOP leadership does not fulfill that promise.
1) The bill does not fully repeal Obamacare. If you have a faulty foundation, nothing you build on top of it is stable or sustainable. Tweaking a little here and there is not going to get the job done. Obamacare should be completely repealed before any replacement or reforms are introduced.
Republicans already have the model for this in their 2015 repeal bill. Every single GOP senator voted for that legislation. There was just one problem at the time: Barack Obama was president. Now, under a President Donald Trump, there’s no impediment to finishing the job.
2) There is no real expectation that this bill will lower costs and make it more affordable for all Americans. It fails to correct the features of Obamacare, namely insurance regulations, that drove up health insurance costs and premiums in the first place.
And that means that the 25 million Americans who get their insurance on the private market or through small-employer plans will see little to no relief. Obama promised that you would be able to keep you doctor. Seven years later, we know that’s not true. Republicans said they would fix this by repealing Obamacare. Now, the very people who have suffered under Obamacare are at risk again of being on the losing end of the deal—again.
3) The bill does not repeal Medicaid expansion. In fact, it encourages states to sign up even more people over the next three years. The costs of this policy are not sustainable without driving states and taxpayers further into debt. But equally wrong is that this bill does not address the problem of states increasingly steering Medicaid dollars originally intended for the truly needy and disabled to able-bodied adults.
4) The tax treatment of health care should be at the center of true reform, but this bill fails to tackle that issue head on or to ask and answer the hard questions.
Should tax credits be used to finance the purchase of health insurance on the individual market?
If so, who gets these tax credits and who will pay for them?
That’s a debate we can have after Obamacare is fully repealed and we are starting from square one. But we are not starting from square one and the current bill runs the risk of expanding our already massive health care entitlement programs.
5) Unlike previous attempts to repeal Obamacare, there is serious concern that the current bill does not adequately prevent the use of taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortions. Obamacare is a faulty foundation and Congress should not attempt to build anything on top of it.
For the past four elections—2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016—voters sent a message and consistently elected Republicans to Congress because they promised to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Unfortunately, it appears this Congress is trying to treat the symptoms of a failing program as opposed to going after the cause of the disease.
The time for full repeal is here. No more excuses.
Commentary by Genevieve Wood. Originally published at The Daily Signal.