Obamacare is not some communist, left-wing, socialist plot.
It’s a Republican plot.
Back in 1971, then President Richard Nixon was extremely concerned that he would have to face then Sen. Ted Kennedy in the 1972 presidential election.
At that time, Senator Kennedy was pushing a proposal for a national single-payer health care plan that would extend coverage to all Americans.
Nixon knew that Kennedy’s proposal would be popular with the American people, and could threaten his re-election chances, so he came up with a health care proposal of his own.
Nixon’s proposal for health care in the US included different plans for four categories of Americans.
Under Nixon’s plan, employers would have been required to buy health insurance providing a basic package of benefits for 150 million working US residents and their families.
For 20 million people who were considered the working poor at the time and their families, Nixon’s plan would have replaced Medicaid services with private health insurance plans fully paid for by the government for the poorest, with a sliding scale of contributions for families earning over $3,000 (roughly $17,300 in today’s dollars).
Nixon’s plan also dropped Medicare premiums for 21 million “aging” Americans, and instead adjusted Social Security taxes to make up for the costs.
Finally, Nixon’s plan lowered health care costs for 30 million self-employed Americans by allowing them to buy health care policies at lower group rates through insurance pools.
Now, what does all of that sound like to you? It sounds an awful lot like Obamacare, right?
That’s because most of the tenets of Obamacare were introduced way back in 1971 by Richard Nixon, a Republican president.
But Nixon wasn’t the only Republican to get behind a health care plan that sounds a lot like Obamacare.
Back in 1993, then-President Bill Clinton tried desperately to reform healthcare in the US. He created a special health care task force that was charged with finding solutions to rising healthcare costs and an increasing number of uninsured Americans.
While that task force was trying to find solutions, Republicans in Congress were trying to create a health care reform alternative of their own.
They came up with the Health Equity and Access Reform Today bill, or HEART.
That bill was spearheaded by then Republican Sen. John Chafee of Rhode Island, and co-sponsored by 18 other Republican senators, including current Republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley, both of whom are now opposed to Obamacare.
It was also supported by the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation, which at the time was pushing particularly heavily for an individual mandate.
Among other things, the HEART bill proposed by Republican senators included an individual mandate (to appease the folks over at the Heritage Foundation), the creation of insurance purchasing pools, standardized benefits, vouchers for poor Americans to buy insurance and a ban on insurance companies denying coverage based on preexisting conditions.
Again, what does that sound like?
Speaking about the HEART bill, Sheila Burke, former chief of staff for former Sen. Bob Dole told PolitiFact’s PunditFact that,
“You would find a great deal of similarity to provisions in the Affordable Care Act. The guys were way ahead of the times! Different crowd, different time, suffice it to say.”
So, yet again, you have Republicans introducing a national health care reform plan that contained a lot of the key tenets of today’s Obamacare.
The facts speak for themselves. Republicans have been pushing Obamacare-like health-care principles for more than 40 years!
So, why in 2015, are Republicans suddenly so opposed to policies they have crafted and supported in years past?
Because today, Republicans aren’t operating on principle, they’re operating on politics.
They’re doing everything in their power to sabotage President Obama’s presidency and tarnish his legacy.
They’re fulfilling the plans of a group of powerful Republican lawmakers and strategists who sat down to a private dinner at the Caucus Room restaurant here in Washington on the night of January 20, 2009, and vowed to filibuster and obstruct any and all legislation supported by President Obama.
Republicans aren’t morally opposed to Obamacare; after all, it’s helped millions of people, and it’s making the insurance industry even richer.
Republican opposition to Obamacare is entirely about politics, and that’s no way to run a country.
If you’re going to run a country, which Republicans basically are by being in control of Congress, you should be operating on principle and on legitimate policy disagreements.
It’s time for Republicans to stop playing politics, and start doing what’s right for the people of the United States.