In order to get their health care bill not only passed but accepted by the American people, the GOP is spinning a lot of lies.
Among them is the odd and entirely false idea that Americans simply do not want health care, an old excuse that Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan fell back on in an interview with "Fox & Friends" Tuesday morning.
Ryan was eager to rebuke the Congressional Budget Office's report that 22 million Americans would lose their health insurance over the next decade under the American Health Care Act, an alarming estimation that has forced the GOP into damage control. His reasoning for the CBO's massive number was not because of the GOP's drastic cuts to Medicaid or the language allowing insurance companies to discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions, but because Americans simply don't "like" or "want" health care.
"What they’re basically saying at the Congressional Budget Office is if you’re not going to force people to buy Obamacare, if you’re not going to force people to buy something that they don’t want, then they won’t buy it. So it's not that people are getting pushed off a plan. It's that people will choose not to buy something they don't want," Ryan told host Brian Kilmeade. "And that’s the difference here. So by repealing the individual and employer mandates, which mandates people buy this health insurance that they can’t afford, that they don’t like, if you don’t mandate that they’re going to do this, then that many people won’t do it. It also says that if states don’t expand Medicaid in the future, then fewer people will go on Medicaid in those states that don’t expand in the future."
First off, Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, is not something anyone is forced to buy because it's not something anyone buys in the first place; it is a law that requires insurance companies to offer better, more humane coverage and gives millions of Americans access to health care through Medicaid expansion.
As a top Republican official, Ryan should, and most likely does, know this, yet in the interview he spun it like the Republican Party was doing low-income Americans a favor by removing the mandate to "buy" Obamacare.
Secondly, the Speaker's statements summarize the bizarre Republican view that health care is a luxury, a privilege even. The CBO estimates that under the AHCA, premiums would skyrocket and low-income people would not be able to afford the health insurance that they need.
Everyone, by virtue of being a human with a human body in this world, will at one point need the care of a medical professional, and this reason alone is an excellent indicator that politicians must start treating health care as a right. It absolutely should not be a poorly constructed screen for tax cuts to the wealthy.
Contrary to what Ryan and others in the GOP say, Americans want, need, and deserve health care. Obamacare is in no way perfect, but it was an important stepping stone toward insuring more Americans and expanding the kinds of coverage they received.
If the Republican Party was not so intertwined with the wealthy and the corporate, they could learn from the greatest legacy the Affordable Care Act left: American minds and bodies come first.