Democrats: Obamacare Is Terrible

June 29, 2017

Leading Democrats have frequently acknowledged glaring problems with the Affordable Care Act while simultaneously slamming the proposed Republican Senate overhaul plan.

If Democrats are to be believed, the ACA, commonly known as Obamacare, is riddled with problems that have caused insurers to exit the exchanges, choices to narrow, premiums to spike, and necessitated a need for a "fix." Of course, some in the Democratic Caucus want to go further left in their reforms, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) championing a single-payer, "Medicare-for-all" style program.

Nevertheless, there is agreement among the Democratic Party's leaders that Obamacare is greatly flawed as designed and executed. Repeal of the law is off the table, however, party leaders say.

"It's failing my constituents," Rep. Tim Walz (D., Minn.) said last month.

"The Affordable Care Act needs improvement. It needs repair," Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the law's architects, said June 6 on "Morning Joe." He added there were "unintended consequences" from the law in a separate CBS appearance.

"Sit down with us and we'll make Obamacare better," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said Sunday on ABC about Senate Republicans.

"Do we need to significantly improve the Affordable Care Act? The answer is absolutely," Sanders said Tuesday on CNN. He said on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday that deductibles and co-payments are too high.

"There are problems with the ACA," Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) said Tuesday on MSNBC. "They are the costs and the exchanges."

"There are a lot of things we needed to do, still need to do, to improve the Affordable Care Act," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass) said March 14 on MSNBC. "There are ways that we need to work to bring down the cost of health care."

"We've seen rising premiums, rising deductibles," Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) said Tuesday on MSNBC.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) ripped the individual mandate of the law in an appearance Sunday on CBS, saying, "You can't force people to buy a product, and then if they don't buy it, you fine them."

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) has said Obamacare does not effectively deal with the cost of pharmaceuticals, Sen. Chris Coons (D., Del.) has said there are still "issues" not addressed by the law, Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) has said he has "a lot of ideas" on how to fix it, and Rep. Jim Himes (D., Conn.) has said it "has some problems, like everything else we do around here."

CNN host Kate Bolduan posed a hypothetical to Rep. Jackie Speier (D., Calif.) on Tuesday about Obamacare.

"Let's just say that a constituent comes up to you and says ... 'I have real problems with Obamacare. Obamacare is hurting me,' this constituent says to you, and they ask you, 'Why aren't you working to fix this rather than just saying no?'" Bolduan asked.

"What I would say to them is they're absolutely right," Speier said. "There are a lot of amendments we have to make to Obamacare, just like there were a lot of amendments that were made to Medicare after it first became law in this country. We need to fix the cost elements in the Affordable Care Act."

The strongest words against the law by a prominent Democrat may have come last October from the last Democratic president before Barack Obama. Bill Clinton assailed the law for being hard on middle-class Americans who do not qualify for Obamacare's subsidies.

"You've got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people that are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half," Clinton said. "It's the craziest thing in the world."