By Genevieve Cottraux
In the 2016 presidential election, many Americans voiced the opinion that voting was an exercise in choosing between the lesser of two evils. Voters characteristically felt a sense of disillusionment with what was happening in the United States and were not convinced that either party had the answers they were looking for from a candidate. A lack of real difference between the Democratic and Republican parties can be seen in the recent stories around the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare.
On March 16, the House Budget Committee passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican alternative to ObamaCare. The vote was close, 19 to 17, with all of the Democrats and 3 of the Republicans on the committee voting against it. Conservative Republicans say the bill doesn’t go far enough in “gutting” Obamacare. Meanwhile, a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the AHCA estimates that 24 million fewer Americans would have health insurance by the year 2026 under AHCA as compared to ObamaCare.
The Democratic Party is now gathering to defend ObamaCare, enacted in 2010. It should be noted, however, that ObamaCare is based on the Republican’s RomneyCare, as Obama himself admitted. Officially called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ObamaCare is modeled on the 2006 Massachusetts state law for health reform, enacted by then-governor Mitt Romney, who in 2008 became the Republican presidential candidate. During the presidential campaign, Romney argued against ObamaCare, but in 2015 he finally admitted that the ACA is based on the Massachusetts state law. Yet he still opposed ObamaCare, preferring state-crafted plans to federal.
ObamaCare. RomneyCare. In a debate in 2011, presidential hopeful Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty drew attention to the parallels between ObamaCare and Romney care: “President Obama said that he designed ObamaCare after RomneyCare and basically made it ObamneyCare. And so, we now have the same features—essentially the same features.” Back in the 1990s, we had HillaryCare. Interestingly, for a man who does not hesitate to attach his name to everything he does (according to The New York Daily News, at least 222 companies in 2016), Trump and the White House are backing away from calling the Republican health care bill TrumpCare.
The American public itself is conflicted. During the 2016 presidential campaign, many seemed to support Trump’s assertion that the ACA is a fraud and a disaster. Now that his plans are underway to dispose of the law, there is rising support for the ACA and the notion of fixing it rather than repealing it. Is the choice between the ACA and the AHCA another lesser of two evils choice?
The lesser of two evils is still evil. We can choose to do less evil, or we can choose to do good. The Humane Party is the first American political party committed to humane values; a healthy population is part of that vision. Shel Harrison, one of the founders of the Humane Party, said that, “[the Humane Party’s] health care plan, by eliminating the animal-exploitation industries, eliminates entire categories of health risks that the Democrat-Republicans take for granted—and the costs associated with those risks.”