Nearly seven years down the road after Republican race baiting, fear mongering, and demagoguery over the Affordable Care Act of 2010, what we are seeing in Congressional Town Hall meetings across touted “Red” districts and counties are throngs of everyday people who are simply concerned about their health. The supreme irony is that the town hall was the format for Republican vitriol against the creation and implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act. These meeting even gave birth to the Tea Party Movement. Now that Republicans are in a position of power to actually “repeal and replace” the law, thousands of people are using the town hall format to defend the law. It appears that it finally sunk in that this is not a question of “Obama” care. It is a question of ‘affordable” health care. Nevertheless, we cannot overlook the fact that the reality of twenty million more Americans having health insurance coverage came about because President Obama pushed for it during his first two years as President.
President Truman pushed for health care reform. He was unable to deliver. However, he was present when President Johnson signed the bill creating Medicare. Many of the same arguments used against Truman were used against Medicare. The most prominent argument is that it is socialized medicine. Nevertheless, Lyndon Johnson was also successful in getting Medicaid into law for low-income individuals. The question must be raised as to what type of availability to health care do Republican want? President Clinton called upon First Lady Hillary Clinton to tackle health care reform. The opposition to her approach was fierce. This opposition came even though President Clinton enjoyed a Democratic majority in the House and Senate. Insurance companies and their lobbyist spared no expense to defeat her efforts. In hindsight, one can also detect an aura of misogyny which questioned the “audacity” of having a First Lady address policy issues. As a consequence, universal health care reform was not achieved. However, First Lady Clinton, working with Edward Kennedy and other members of Congress was able to get legislation passed establishing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Given the extraordinary misinformation campaign put on by Republicans, the Democrats lost the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections of 2010. No sooner than the Republican majority was sworn in Republicans began passing bill after bill after bill to repeal what had come to be known as “Obamacare.” These bills to replace the Affordable Care Act always died in a Democratic-controlled Senate. On June 28, 2012, Obamacare survived its first Supreme Court challenge in a 5 to 4 decision upholding the law based on Congress’s authority to tax. President Obama was also reelected in 2012 but lost his Senate majority in the 2014 mid-term elections. Republicans in Congress continued to pass legislation to repeal Obamacare. Given the fact that Republicans controlled Congress, President Obama had to wield his veto pen in order to save the law and health care for millions of Americans.
January 20, 2017, witnessed a nightmare scenario fall into place. With the swearing in of Donald Trump as President, there appeared to be no firewall of protection left to save the Affordable Care Act not that Republicans virtually controlled the entire government. Trump had campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare. One of his first executive orders instructed relevant bureaucratic agencies to cut back, where possible, on spending in support of the Affordable Care Act. However, Congress is noticeably absent from this discussion in 2017. Some would argue that Republicans have had six years to come up with a health care alternative to the Affordable Care Act. The writer of this article begs to differ. Since Truman first attempted to introduce health care reform in 1945, Republican has had 72 years to come up with an alternative plan. In short, Republican do not have a plan. The current President says that he will introduce his plan to replace Obamacare in March 2017.
WHILE WE WERE SLEEPING
To borrow a term from 50 Cent, Republicans are “grimy.” They just will not do right. The first piece of legislation that Donald Trump signed as President was a bill to lift pollution restrictions on the coal industry. The Republican push for more polluted air, water, dirt, and streams are what deregulation looks like. For Republicans, less government means bigger profits for those already at the top. It is possible that a few more jobs might be added, but our grandchildren and great grandchildren will die. On Wednesday, February 15, 2017, the Senate passed House Joint Resolution 40 which seeks to lift restrictions regarding the mentally ill and the purchase of firearms. This resolution now sits on President Trump’s desk. When President Obama was in office, Republicans constantly stated that mass shootings not related to terror were a mental health issue. Now we truly see that Republicans have a dystrophic bent toward governing. While we were sleeping they were preparing legislation to allow more pollution and more guns on the streets. Stay woke!
Anthony Neal earned his Ph.D. in political science at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Dr. Neal is an associate professor at State University College, Buffalo. The author of numerous book reviews and journal articles, he has had his work published in the Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Issues in Higher Education. In 2014 Dr. Neal received the university’s Faculty Appreciation Award, was named Instructor of the Year by the university’s United Student Government, and Professor of the Year by the Student Political Society in the Department of Political Science. In 2015, he published The American Political Narrative which is a succinct yet poignant narrative about the development of the American political system and what is needed to maintain it. In 2016, he will publish a book of poetry entitled “Love Agnostic | from 9/11 to Charleston”