On Friday, President Obama attempted to defend his legacy from criticism from the far left of his own Democratic Party. He criticized Democratic personalities like Sanders for helping feed into the unpopularity of Obamacare, President Obama’s signature healthcare reform law.
Obama has been spending part of his last two weeks in office cementing his legacies and inciting supporters to speak out against plans by Republicans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010.
At a town hall event with Vox Media, Obama acknowledged the politics have been stacked against his reforms. He blames Republicans in Congress who he said refused to help make legislative ammendments to Obamacare. He also pushed the blame to far-left liberals, like former Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, for contributing to the program’s unpopularity.
“The problem is not that they think Obamacare is a failure. The problem is that they don’t think it went far enough and that it left too many people still uncovered,” Obama said.
Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Sanders, agreed that many people would rather the government “take on the private insurance industry and the pharmaceutical companies” and play a bigger role in ensuring healthcare to its citizens.
It’s normal for a president in his last days to want to protect his legacy. It is also a fact that Obamacare’s coverage rates are skyhigh in states like Wisconsin, where people find that fines are cheaper than premiums. Obamacare has inevitably left out some Americans. The question remains: to keep Obamacare, or to find a fiscally responsible solution that aims to serve all Americans?
According to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation in December 2016: 46 percent of Americans view Obamacare unfavourably, while only 43 percent have a favorable view. Americans are also evenly split on whether the law should be repealed. However, it seems that Americans would prefer to see specifics of a better alternative before the full repeal of Obamacare.
Although some Republicans want a full repeal of Obamacare, many moderate Republicans are actually satisfied with the law. There are provisions in the Affordable Care Act that are beneficial to all Americans, like lifting bars for people with pre-existing conditions to be insured, expansion of medicaid and parts that allow young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26. The whole of Obamacare doesn’t necessarily have to be repealed. In fact, Trump has said he is willing to keep aspects of the law.
On the first day of Congress, Republicans have put in motion the repealing of the law and several alternatives have been shared on the floor. Hopefully, they will come up with a viable solution to replace Obamacare and get the repealing of the law underway,