REPEAL AND REPLACE
Those two words have dominated headlines over the past week as Trump administration revealed its plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act ( ie, Obamacare ) and replace it with its own American Health Care Act. Reforming healthcare has been a hot button topic throughout the election, with voters on both sides of the aisle seeing many possible improvements in the current plan. This question was asked of fifty bipartisan voters in midsummer, at the height of the Presidential campaign.
But, now two new words are starting to define the debate over healthcare: mercy and malice. Republicans have been trying to overturn the ACA for the better part of a decade, and House Speaker Paul Ryan went so far as to call its repeal an “act of mercy” for a nation that can’t afford to pay for the ACA. Ryan’s characterization drew criticism from Democrats like Congressman Joe Kennedy, who addressed Congress late Wednesday night.
As President Trump noted, “nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated,” but the distinction between an “act of mercy” or, as Kennedy described the plan, “an act of malice” is not a subtle one. So, which side of the line would the American electorate fall on? To find out, researchers at Unanimous A.I. turned to a Swarm A.I. composed Americans of voting age to ponder the question. Concerns over the future of healthcare dominate the news these days, so the members of the swarm were very familiar with the issues at play. First, they wanted to know if the American Health Care Plan can be considered an adequate replacement for Obamacare.
The swarm of twenty voters was fairly clear in its belief that the newly proposed plan falls short of the standard set by the Affordable Care Act. Still, even Democrats recognize that there are flaws in Obamacare, and in fact Hillary Clinton campaigned on improving coverage and reducing premiums. But, now that the GOP is taking legitimate steps to repeal it, the language of the debate has changed, and Kennedy’s description of an “act of malice” goes far beyond “inadequate.” Would the swarm think the young Congressman had gone too far?
As you can see, the swarm had little difficulty in characterizing the new American Health Care Plan. But despite the backlash, and the fact that many Republican leaders like Newt Gingrich are treating the new plan as a first draft to be improved upon, the new plan has already cleared two major hurdles in Congress in passing the Ways and Means committee and the Energy and Commerce committee. ( Kennedy’s speech above was given before this second committee). Those votes fell largely along party lines, which prompts the question, how will voters react if Congress passes the American Health Care Plan as its currently written?
Healthcare reform is only the latest in a series of political clashes between Democrats and Republicans over the past few months, but it might be the most important issue at play for many Americans. A study at Harvard University notes that the #1 reason Americans go bankrupt is “Medical Expenses” and the American healthcare system was ranked just 37th in the world.
So, let’s end by pointing out what Republicans, Democrats, and the voters who make up UNU swarms can agree on: healthcare is important and Obamacare is not perfect. But, as the swarm notes in that final question, rushing to replace it with a plan that many people feel is an inadequate alternative might end up costing the GOP the position of power it currently enjoys in the White House and Congress.
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