State of Union

President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., watch, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

Republicans have been bad-mouthing the Affordable Care Act, coined Obamacare, since its inception in 2010. Instead of even attempting to rework the plan to make it more viable, Republicans insist it must be completely thrown out. Not able to muster the votes to completely accomplish this, they have implemented various legislative maneuvering to systematically chip away at it and have succeeded in making it non-affordable for many in need of medical insurance.

However, kudos is due to President Donald Trump for finally calling their bluff and telling them it’s time “to put up, or shut up.” The Republican bluff being they don’t have, and never had, any viable, proven alternative plan for an Obamacare replacement. It is easy to criticize something you are not responsible for creating, but it’s a completely different scenario when suddenly you must assume responsibility for it.

So far, the initial reactions of the Republicans are that none wish to pick up the health care plan gauntlet which Trump has thrown down. In fact, many want no part of it and wish it “would just go away.” This is quite evident by the reactions of the four senators that our president has charged with completing his vision, namely, U.S. Sens Rick Scott, Mitt Romney, John Barrasso, and Bill Cassidy. Cassidy, one of our Louisiana senators, is a doctor.

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Scott claims that any health care plan must originate from the White House and that he had no prior knowledge that he was to be made part of the health policy group. Romney won't say more than that he and colleagues are “working on health care thoughts.” John Barrasso, when asked about the Republican plan, in typical politician mode, refused to acknowledge the question, and turned it back on the opposition, saying, “Democrats want to go to the complete government takeover of health care.” And Cassidy, the fourth member of Trump’s team, who should have more knowledge about health care than the others, hasn’t committed to anything more than having “conversations with colleagues” about health care affordability.

It's puzzling that after complaining for nine years about Obamacare, and only a week into the Trump-mandated makeover as the “Party of Health Care,” these senators, along with most of their fellow Republican lawmakers, have no health care plan and want no ownership of it.

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So to all those who still believe their political party’s public relations that they have the final solutions for affordable health care in the United States, the reality is, one party implemented a flawed one, and the other hasn’t one to implement. So don’t expect any immediate relief from this latest bunch of experts. They haven’t a clue, but thanks to Trump for removing the smoke screen created by his political party.

Jim Anderson

retired educator