Consider these separate but related news items:
- The cost and availability of health care is the #1 issue that Americans care about right now, according to the Gallup poll.
- The Gallup poll for the last year has been showing that Obamacare (ACA) is approved of by over half of American voters.
- A new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows that American voters are more focused on health care than any other issue. Over 30 percent of voters polled said that health care was their top issue, which was more than twice as many as any other issue.
- In a December Gallup poll nearly half of Americans support a government-run healthcare system, the highest number ever. In fact, through Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans’ Administration, the federal government and the prison system, about 40% of Americans already receive their healthcare from government-run programs. And most people like these programs and want to keep them.
Add all this together and you can’t help but reach an inescapable conclusion: If health care plays a prominent role in this year’s election, it could provide a huge advantage for Democrats.
And nearly all polls on the topic have suggested that healthcare will indeed be in the forefront of voters’ minds come election day 2018.
Republicans used Obamacare to gain power, by scaring people and lying to them about it. But now they’ve been in power a while and have done nothing except try to take healthcare away from people, which is not a popular approach to the topic. In addition, Congress and Trump have worked together to undermine the ACA and in so doing have increased healthcare costs for millions of Americans. This is another action that is proving to be very unpopular.
In short, in the 2018 election cycle, what voters want to hear about is the SOLUTIONS their politicians have to the healthcare crisis. The crisis is about costs and availability, and these are both very tough issues to deal with. But the truth is, very few Republicans have any honest solutions, while Democrats do, and this could be the deciding difference in the fall.
Obamacare premiums for 2019 are expected to be announced in October of this year, just before the November election. The Congressional Budget Office has already forecasted a 10 percent increase in premiums next year for those who buy their health insurance through the ACA individual market.
No matter how hard Republicans try, they can’t shift the blame for rising healthcare costs to Democrats. They can’t blame Democrats for the millions of uninsured Americans. They are the party in power and they have the responsibility to fix problems, not create problems.
Trump, Ryan and McConnell have failed miserably in solving any aspect of America’s healthcare crisis. And this creates a golden opportunity for Democrats to take back control of the government this year, riding the crest of a great big beautiful Blue Wave.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.