Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could (and often did) refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or cancer. The high costs of medical care and the inability to purchase health insurance left many families facing decisions that no family should ever face. Obamacare changed all that by requiring insurance companies to provide coverage to those people with pre-existing conditions, and do so at the same rates they charged healthy people.
Then the Republicans won total control of the government and started their ‘repeal and replace’ efforts. In order to win the support of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, Republicans not only weakened the provisions for pre-existing conditions, but also allowed insurers to charge those people more.
The American Health Care Act of 2017, or H.R. 1628, came up for a vote in the House on May 4th, 2017. In another stunning failure to plan for the future, only 20 Republicans voted against the bill. When the bill passed 217-213, Democrats knew this gave them serious ammunition against Republicans for the upcoming 2018 elections. Just like in a musical, Dems broke into song on the House floor: “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye.”
Maybe Republicans thought Americans weren’t paying attention, or maybe they thought we’d conveniently forget about this vote in the 18 months to go before the election. The Democratic Party’s near-record gain of at least 40 House seats showed them how wrong they were.
Now, based on a recording obtained by The Washington Post, Republicans are pointing fingers. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), in a private conference call with donors on Feb. 6th, blamed the Freedom Caucus and their drive to kill pre-existing condition coverage for the GOPs huge losses.
McCarthy pointed out that numerous Freedom Caucus members had lost their elections in 2018, and told his donors he was focused on recruiting new candidates for 2020 who would know “…the commitment of what they’re doing to make sure that they’re going to find a solution at the end of the day.” The Chairman of the Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows (R-NC) said he found McCarthy’s remarks “very troublesome”. Republicans have spent the past two years demonstrating their complete inability to govern. After their massive losses in 2018, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the party is fractured, and the cracks are growing daily.
Adrienne Lilly lives in Upstate New York with her two children. She works as a manufacturing engineer.