In the weeks leading up to Nov. 6, many Republican congressional candidates are scrambling to shake a pesky piece of truth from the past several years, and they’re hoping you won’t notice. The GOP has tried and failed multiple times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, including the requirement that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions.
Now, thanks to growing popularity of the ACA’s mandated coverage of pre-existing conditions, and with a sea-change movement toward an eventual Medicare for All system in the U.S., Republican candidates are betting you won’t remember the GOP’s repeated attempts to remove this essential piece of the ACA (along with the ACA on the whole).
In August 2018, GOP senators introduced a bill that would prevent insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. So, it would ensure you get an insurance plan of some sort. However, the Ensuring Coverage for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions Act, also allows insurance companies to deny coverage of said pre-existing conditions, meaning your plan could cover wellness visits, but it wouldn’t have to cover your cancer or diabetes or lupus or pregnancy, etc.
As well, 20 state attorneys general are plaintiffs in Texas vs. The United States, a suit that claims the ACA’s individual mandate (and, potentially all of the ACA) is unconstitutional. Coincidentally, many Republican candidates (including incumbents) in those 20 states have released campaign ads where they explicitly claim they will fight to protect coverage of pre-existing conditions.
ThinkProgress reported last month on competitive house races where GOP candidates have drastically changed their rhetoric as well as their campaign websites in hopes of hoodwinking voters. What’s more, President Trump’s most recent contribution to this issue is a bald-faced lie, one intended to scare voters away from Democrats and towards conservatives.
The truth is, the GOP wants to repeal the ACA entirely. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), told Reuters earlier this month that if they have the votes, the GOP will go after the ACA again. That prompted a strong critique from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
“If Republicans retain the Senate they will do everything they can to take away families’ health care and raise their costs,” Schumer said in a statement. “Americans should take Senator McConnell at his word.”
He’s right. There’s nothing in the past two years of a Republican-controlled White House and Congress that suggests otherwise. The fact that GOP candidates in competitive races have taken to lying to constituents in campaign ads only serves to show that the GOP has abandoned the working class and, what’s worse, thinks insulting the intelligence of their constituents to garner votes is a winning strategy.
Unfortunately, the Democratic Party still hasn’t fully embraced Medicare for All, despite the fact that a whopping 70% of Americans support it. While several Democrats in Congress have come around to the idea since the 2016 election, Democratic candidates have largely stuck to calling out Republicans for lying about pre-existing conditions (which is part of what they should be doing). The other part is abandoning the idea of a “market-based” solution or a public option as the savior of America’s healthcare crisis. Market-based is code for “Keep the Insurance Companies in Control,” which should not come as a surprise given the staggering amounts of campaign donations both Republicans and Democrats have accepted from Insurance, Healthcare and Pharmaceutical industries.
Democrats may well see their Blue Wave next week, but a wave of corporate Democrats won’t necessarily lead us to Medicare for All, paid family leave or even lower prescription drug prices.
What we need are corporate-free candidates on both sides of the aisle who are committed to enacting Medicare for All and other policies that will benefit working-class Americans. Republicans aren’t the problem. Democrats aren’t the problem. The problem is that corporations and wealthy elite can buy influence and, in some cases, even write the legislation that governs all of us, and our current legislators ― in both parties ― aren’t willing to stand up to some of their largest donors.
There are 11 Brand New Congress candidates on ballots across the country. None of them accept corporate donations. All of them will fight for Medicare for All and other common-sense policies that will return power to the people. It’s up to you: Believe the Republican lies, fall for lukewarm sentiment for a single-payer system from Democrats, or vote in fresh faces, untainted by and unwilling to succumb to corporate influence.
Learn more about other 11 BNC candidates you can vote for on Nov. 6. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Go out and vote.