I breathed a great big sigh of relief when the repeal and replace health care law was pulled yesterday and wondered if President Trump secretly did too. The American Health Care Act, the bill that would have replaced the Affordable Health Care Act, was opposed by almost every medical organization in the country from the American Medical Association to Hospital Associations and every specialty in-between. Millions were projected to lose their health care coverage. It would have put a greater burden on the working poor and given tax breaks to our wealthiest citizens. The bill was a train wreck ready to devastate the country.
In the months since the election many people learned that the Affordable Care Act, they or family members have found help and relief in, was the Obamacare they loved to hate. I have both friends and family who have been helped through tough stretches because of this law. I am personally grateful that it stays in place. I also know people who have experienced too high premiums and deductibles. What has been a blessing for some of my friends is neither affordable nor available for others. Clearly, the law which exists needs help.
Now that the replacement law has failed, I hope and pray that Washington decides to fix what is broken in the Affordable Care Act and not spend any more time playing political games with Health Care. Since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2009, all efforts to repair the bill have failed in congress. What is forgotten are the hurting people depending on this Congress to come up with genuine solutions which will work for everyone. They live in every district in the country. They are not just Democrats or just Republicans they are Americans, representing all political parties and those who have none. The people who are hurting are not the wealthy in these districts and probably not big donors. This group will never carry the political muscle of billionaires and their threats to financially support another person carry little weight. But, they are those “salt of the earth,” hard-working people who are the essence on which our nation has grown and flourished.
When Medicare became law there were any number of issues which arose in the following years. Back then, we had a Washington that was more concerned about fixing the problems than playing political games. Our representatives and senators worked across the aisle to make the new Medicare law work. It’s called integrity. Would that there was more of it in our nations’ leaders today.
The psalmist in a difficult and challenging time promised God, “But as for me, I walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.” Psalm 26:11-12