GOP plan on Obamacare is a charade

Trump's HHS pick hates Obamacare
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Story highlights

  • Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer: GOP plan to "repeal and delay" on Obamacare is a charade
  • Working people -- some supporting Trump -- would be most hurt by this action, he writes

Steny H. Hoyer is the US Representative for Maryland's 5th Congressional district and is the Democratic Whip. The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author.

(CNN)Many Americans, from every walk of life and across the political divide, have their own stories of how Obamacare kept them from losing their homes when they got sick, how it eliminated out-of-pocket costs for preventive screenings that saved their lives, and how it made the difference in caring for their children with pre-existing conditions like asthma or epilepsy. Obamacare is working, saving both lives and livelihoods for working Americans.

Steny H. Hoyer
Thursday was the deadline for Americans to enroll in insurance plans through the federal and state health insurance marketplaces to have coverage that starts in the new year. The Affordable Care Act provides real, affordable health insurance options that meet the needs of individuals and families across the country.
Lost in the ongoing and divisive political rhetoric about Obamacare during this election season has been its record of success. Since its full implementation in 2014, the law has made it possible for 20 million more Americans to gain health coverage. Insurance companies can no longer discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions or treat women differently than men when it comes to setting the price of insurance premiums. Annual and lifetime limits on coverage are gone. Young adults up to age 26 can be covered under their parents' plans. Moreover, the systemic costs of health care, which were skyrocketing out of control before the ACA was enacted, have now seen their rate of growth slow significantly.
    Democrats are prepared to defend this progress we've made by opposing efforts by Republicans in Congress, now emboldened by their victories in the recent election, to undo all the health care reforms the American people have benefited from over the past six years. Republicans have vowed to "repeal and replace" the law for six years, but after more than 60 votes to repeal it, they still haven't put forward any workable alternative to replace the law. Now, Republicans are discussing a "repeal and delay" plan, in which they would repeal the law, but that repeal wouldn't take effect for two or three years.
    This shift exposes the Republican plan for what it is: a charade. They know they don't have an alternative, and they also know that voters will be angry with them for taking away the benefits they enjoy. That's why they will pretend to repeal the Affordable Care Act but delay implementation until after the next election. However, nothing would delay the chaotic effects of repeal that would start from day one.
    Those working men and women who cast votes for Donald Trump and Republicans because they felt their voices weren't being heard in Washington -- these are the same Americans who would be hurt the most by repealing Obamacare.
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    Democrats have heard their frustration and recognize that we need to do more to make sure those of us in Washington have their backs. In the new 115th Congress, we're going to make that our No. 1 priority -- and we'll begin by opposing Republicans' dangerous plans to take health care away from millions of workers and their families. Instead, we'll be pushing for improvements to the law to bring costs down further and help expand quality, affordable coverage to even more Americans who need it. It would be a mistake to turn the clock back to the days before reform, and Democrats are more determined than ever to prevent that from happening to the working people of this country.