If Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) had his way, the Affordable Care Act would have been dismantled, 23 million Americans would have lost health insurance, and health care premiums would have increased for millions more.
But while Rohrabacher and Republicans failed to ultimately repeal the ACA, changes made to health care policies are having serious — and seriously negative — consequences.
“While health insurance premiums are still going up — by double-digits, according to the first few preliminary state filings for 2019 — Democrats say the rising costs are now an albatross around Republican necks,” says Politico.
Unlike past congressional election cycles, Politico notes, Democrats are near-unanimously running on health care instead of away from it. The GOP, on the other hand, is trying to pin the results of its sabotage on Democrats.
Republicans “don’t have a cohesive answer to their flame-out on repeal — a failure that obliterated a reliable applause line for GOP candidates in every cycle since 2010,” Politico continues.
In California, Republicans like Rohrabacher face voters who are especially worried for themselves and their neighbors. Covered California estimates premiums will increase by up to 30 percent, which could make it too expensive for some.
Since Republicans took power in Washington, D.C., more than four million people have lost health insurance, largely due to Republican policies.
And any attempt to deflect blame seems highly unlikely to work out well for the GOP. The ACA has been riding a surge in popularity since Trump took office. In fact, the law maintains a positive net approval even after continued Republican efforts to sabotage it.
And former secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price made it even easier for Democrats to make the case that Republicans have botched health care.
At a health care conference in May, Price admitted that Republican changes to health care policy are harmful.
“There are many, and I’m one of them, who believes that that actually will harm the pool in the exchange market,” Price said. “Because you’ll likely have individuals who are younger and healthier not participating in that market, and consequently that drives up the cost for other folks within that market.”
The underlying changes were rammed through as part of the unpopular tax bill. And it has already caused premiums to spike as much as 64 percent in Virginia. And according to one report, Republican policies could result in 90 percent increases in some states by 2021.
Thus, it’s unsurprising that voters trust Democrats over Republicans on the issue of health care. One recent poll showed a 12-point margin in favor of Democrats’ handling of the issue. Democrats also held a 10-point advantage among independents, an increasingly large voting bloc in California.
And 68 percent of voters who put health care as their number one issue said things in the country have “pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track.”
Republicans tried to sabotage America’s health care system, but failed. As Politico notes, “the public had scant interest in taking away coverage from millions of Americans, including low-income and vulnerable people on Medicaid.”
Dan Desai Martin contributed to this article.