PRESIDENT Obama’s attempt to establish a cheaper insurance market that would provide full cover for up to 40 million poor Americans is under all-out attack from the Republicans, the insurance companies and from within his own Democratic Party.
On Friday dozens of Obama’s Democratic allies backed a Republican bill which seeks to bypass his health law’s minimum requirements for medical insurance. The House of Representatives passed the proposal by 261-157, with the help of 39 Democrat lawmakers.
The move came after insurance companies cancelled millions of Americans’ medical insurance policies because they did not meet the stricter conditions of the healthcare overhaul. The companies were acting in complete defiance of Obama who had promised that people would be able to keep their existing plans.
The Republican-sponsored bill would allow insurers to sell coverage that does not meet the new guidelines mandated under the Affordable Care Act.
At the same time as Obama’s Affordable Care Act is under attack by the insurance companies and renegade Democrats, it is being aborted, as America’s computer genius fails it at the decisive moment.
The federal website is proving unable to properly register the millions who want to take advantage of the measure.
This contributed to the defeat in the House. ‘I am frustrated and angered by the continuing problems with the healthcare website,’ Democrat congressman Ron Barber said following Friday’s vote. ‘Today I voted to give people the option to keep their current plan until these and other issues are resolved. That’s only fair.’
On Thursday, Obama had announced a one-year reprieve for those facing cancellation of their existing coverage. He also apologised in every possible way saying: ‘I understand why folks are frustrated . . . I do make apologies for not having executed better over the last several months. . . We and I did not have enough awareness about the problems in the website. . . I feel deeply responsible for making it harder for them rather than easier.’
On Friday he was ignored as Democrats voted against ObamaCare alongside Republicans, and the US insurance companies continued to refuse to play ball!
At his press conference on Thursday he said: ‘In the past few weeks, some Americans have been notified by their health insurance companies that plans they bought on the old individual insurance market are being cancelled – often because these plans no longer meet the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to cover basic benefits like prescription drugs or doctors’ visits.’
He added: ‘The bottom line is insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be cancelled into 2014, and Americans whose plans have been cancelled can choose to re-enrol in the same kind of plan.’
President Obama reminded his audience that under the regime of the private insurers: ‘Too often, it works fine as long as you stay healthy; it doesn’t work well when you’re sick. . . So year after year, Americans were routinely exposed to financial ruin, or denied coverage due to minor pre-existing conditions, or dropped from coverage altogether – even if they paid their premiums on time.’
He continued: ‘So we’re going to do everything we can to help the Americans who’ve received these cancellation notices. But there are also 40 million Americans who don’t have health insurance. And I am not going to walk away from 40 million people who have the chance to get health insurance for the first time.’
It is absolutely clear that US big business is determined to smash even the extremely limited ObamaCare. The US economy is bankrupt and $17.1 trillion in debt. The Republicans shut down the US last October. They are going to renew their efforts in February, as they seek to make a deal with Obama to end US social security, that is scrap Medicare and Medicaid, for the benefit of the US bankers.
Since Obama has already ploughed trillions into rescuing the banks and car giants like GM, and spent billions on ruling class wars, all he can argue about is how big the cuts will be.
The US trade unions must break with the Democrats right away and establish a Labor Party that will fight alongside the workers of the world for socialism. Now is also the time to establish a section of the Fourth International in the US, to wage the struggle to smash US capitalism and replace it with a workers government and socialism.