By Briana Scalia
The American Health Care Act of 2017, commonly referred to as the AHCA or “Trumpcare,” was withdrawn from the House floor, without vote, on March 24, 2017. The main goal of the bill was to repeal and replace the current Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA or “Obamacare.”
Major differences between the AHCA and the ACA would include coverage of the aforementioned insurance, both in scope of citizens and medical issues. Some of these differences include a partial defunding of Planned Parenthood, rolling back the expansion of Medicaid and an end to federal essential health benefits, or in other words, placing no requirements for citizens and employers on how much insurance coverage they are forced to pay. While the majority of American citizens were unsure of the changes, one would think the Freedom Caucus would back the ideas of the Republican President and the Speaker of the House.
The reasons for the opposition of Democratic representatives being opposed to the proposed bill seem fairly obvious. Most Democrats either feel a strong loyalty to the previous president, or they truly feel that Obamacare is the better alternative to this new health coverage plan. An overwhelming majority of liberals have at least a slight resentment towards President Trump, and hold a bias towards ideas and concepts that have originated from him.
Additionally, some members of the GOP did not stand behind the AHCA because the purists believe the new proposal did not eradicate Obamacare from its root, as was promised during President Trump’s campaign. The ideological schism within the Republican Party has never been as obvious as it is now; the pragmatic Republicans are more willing to make compromises with the Democratic Party, while the extremely conservative Republicans are not interested in budging in their political opinions.
As a country, we have reached a point where there is not just a major divide between the two central political parties, but there are divides within the parties themselves, particularly the Republican Party. The fractures in the Republican Party have been made clear these last few days. Most American citizens are already painfully aware of how the lack of cooperation between parties leads to little work being achieved in Washington D.C. Both parties have evolved from a gathering of like-minded people where bipartisan consensus could be achieved, to a band of exclusive, close-minded representatives who are more interested in helping the future of their party than the future of the country. In doing so, the extremists in both political parties neglect the needs of the American citizens, subsequently neglecting the job they were specifically chosen to do. The United States needs to scale back both political parties’ levels of power, and pressure them into meeting each other halfway so as to make actual progress. As former President John F. Kennedy stated, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.”
If the Republican Party does not come together and work through its internal problems many political scientists theorize that it will split, some believe even within the next decade. While the Democratic Party itself has issues, the Republican Party has allowed its problems to become so apparent that it helped kill a conservative-leaning bill, introduced by a Republican President, to repeal and replace Obamacare. Even one of these characteristics should have been enough to convince the GOP to band together to attempt to back the bill, but instead it let it split be the healthcare plan’s undoing.
The American government is plagued by problems regarding the two major political parties, but this Republican split is even more debilitating to government progress. The pragmatic Republicans will eventually split from the purist Republicans, and this recent display of division only further proves the probability of this split occurring.
The worst aspect of this political party in-fighting is the negative way it affects the American citizens, especially the middle and lower class citizens. While those with large incomes and inordinate amounts of wealth do not express such concern at the lack of work being done in the White House, those who are struggling to get by are counting on their representatives to fight for their rights and try to solve their problems. Unfortunately, this grows increasingly harder to achieve as government in-fighting continues to cripple the law making process. Those who are struggling do not have the privilege to be completely obstinate in their beliefs that these well-off political figures do. We as American citizens are depending on our political representatives to be our voice and argue in our stead.
If the two major political parties do not start to compromise in favor of development, American citizens’ lives will be disrupted, and they will only continue to suffer. This congressional chess game must come to an end. I cannot help but agree with sociologist Dr. DaShanne Stokes, who states, “We owe our loyalty to each other and to our children’s children, not to party politics.”