Republicans wave white flag on health care (for now)

For Republicans, there is reason to expect Obamacare to persist as some kind of zombie problem, used by conservative politicians to rally grassroots with little real hope of eliminating the law. And in the dozen states that have refused to expand Medicaid, the fights for the law will certainly continue. But other issues, like culture wars battles over race and transgender rights, have already supplanted healthcare as the party’s favorite red meat.

“I don’t know what’s next” on health care, Rep. Nancy Mace, a Republican from South Carolina, said in an interview on MSNBC. “I hope this is not the end of the road.”

Still, the political battle over the future of the law could become more contentious for Democrats, who disagree on how to tackle issues like large deductibles, high premiums, and barriers to expansion. of Medicaid.

In 2020, questions of how to lean on the law dominated the Democratic Party primaries race, which ended badly for liberal politicians. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign failed after she was pressed for details of her radical healthcare alternative. In a book published last month on her campaign, Ms Warren largely attributed her defeat to her fumbling efforts to explain how she would pay for her health care policies. Joseph R. Biden Jr., who advocated strengthening the health care law instead of cutting private insurance, defeated Ms Warren and several other more progressive rivals, including Senator Bernie Sanders.

Mr Sanders, whose plan to nationalize U.S. healthcare has long been at the heart of his political message, praised the court ruling this week but said it was not enough. As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, he is pushing to lower the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 60 and expand the range of health services covered by the law.

“We are the only great country, as you know, that does not guarantee health care for all,” he told Capitol Hill this week. “There are millions of older workers who would like to benefit from Medicare and who cannot today, which is why we need to lower the age, and there are millions more who cannot hear, cannot afford glasses and dental care. “

President Biden has signaled little new interest in changing his stance on the campaign.

“The affordable care law remains the law of the land,” he said in a White House statement, adding that it was time “to move forward and continue to rely on this historical law “.

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