Tlaib Trashes Obamacare as Written by Insurance Companies, Creating 'Winners and Losers' in Health Care

January 22, 2019

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) ripped Obamacare as being written by insurance companies and for creating "winners and losers" in health care in a new interview on the New York Times podcast "The Daily."

Tlaib is one of several high-profile new Democratic members of Congress who seeks to shift their party further to the left, embracing policies like universal health care coverage through "Medicare for all" and a $15 minimum wage. She tied the importance of staying connected with her home district to writing proper legislation in office.

"I don't think we're going to succeed unless we have the movement work and the things that we're doing back home to connect it," she said. "When we disconnect, we end up with something like [the] Affordable Care Act, which people don't understand is—insurance companies were in the room drafting it, and I feel like if that happens on 'Fight for 15' ... we won't succeed."

Podcast host Michael Barbaro remarked many Democrats, including President Barack Obama himself, considered it the landmark achievement of the Obama administration.

"It's imperfect, even by his own measure, but it got done," Barbaro said.

"I know, and that's the thing, though. We have winners and losers," Tlaib said. "Not everybody got helped."

Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) battled over Obamacare during the 2016 Democratic primary, with Sanders pushing then for "Medicare for all" and criticizing the present system for still leaving millions without insurance. Clinton said it was the signature achievement of the Obama administration and would be built on if she became president.

Republicans have sought since 2010 to repeal Obamacare but for different reasons than Tlaib, with many citing the concern that it was part of the road to government-run health care. The sprawling law mandated Americans purchase health care coverage or receive a penalty in their taxes, expanded Medicaid eligibility, and made it illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

Obama's promise that people could keep the health care plans they liked was deemed the "Lie of the Year" in 2013 by PolitiFact when millions lost their existing policies under the law's new provisions, which also mandated health plans cover certain benefits.

Former Vice President Joe Biden criticized the country's existing health care system in a new speech, saying it didn't do enough to help struggling people.