The Elephant in the Room

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Dismantling the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s legacy, the Affordable Care Act, has long been a priority for the GOP

By Brittany Russell, Columnist

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2009, a core plank of the Republican Party platform was “Repeal Obamacare!” over and over again. However, they never quite had the ability to do it while Obama was at the helm of government, nor did they have control of the Senate. Following the 2016 election cycle, Republicans now control both lawmaking branches of government, and Obama is not there to defend his legacy. Donald Trump pledged throughout his campaign that they would repeal and replace Obamacare- and Congress acted irresponsibly.

The healthcare debate of 2017 has been chaotic, confusing, and messy. It is an egregious example of poor governance and a complicit party to the actions and words of a leader they know, deep down, is doing a poor job of leading.

In this particular case, I find myself watching the congressional updates at 1am and wishing it was literally any issue other than this one.

Healthcare is just as messy and complicated as the debate has been. I’m not going to go into the weeds- I’d be here all night- but because it is so complicated and the Obamacare law is so detailed and large, it should indicate that this is a delicate process that should take more time than the six months Republicans have been in charge. Repealing and replacing should not be rushed, or procrastinated.

This is not a final paper in a 200 level class you can do the night before. This is 1/6 of the US economy and people’s lives on the line.

The gravity of the issue should have told Republicans to slow down, and someone from Congress needs to learn to hold the leader accountable for his actions. Trump should have known better than to rush Congress into this decision. Senator Mitch McConnell should not have closed the door on negotiations on the healthcare bill, nor should he have unveiled another bill two hours before the vote and acted like Paul Ryan would do a decent job of keeping the bill from passing in the house. McConnell and the GOP should also have realized that they would not have to worry about Paul Ryan if they killed the bill right now, stopped the vote, and went back to committee to build a plan that better suited their needs and kept more people insured.

What makes this even worse is that Republicans have had time to think about this. They have had seven years to cook up a plan and review by all necessary and proper channels.

Someone had to have thought that Republicans would be in charge again eventually- why did they not think of a better plan and keep it in the desk until it was needed? Did no one think of having a plan B while they spent seven years passing votes that were merely ceremonial that failed each time?

I am disappointed in the actions I have witnessed this year in Congress. The unwillingness to listen to reason and the constituents that put each congressman there is embarrassing.

Even if you got the outcome you desired from it, the process along the way was appallingly and unnecessarily messy. I find it sad.

I urge everyone in Gettysburg College to hold your representatives accountable for their actions, Democrat or Republican. At the moment, they believe they can get away with anything because the man in the White House got away with it. Call them. Make your voice heard. Do not let them play games with anyone’s lives. Let them feel the political consequences of their actions in 2018.

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Author: Brittany Russell

Brittany Russell '19 is a Political Science major and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies minor. She is the music director for 91.1 WZBT Gettysburg and hosts a show Thursdays at 9pm. When she's not DJing or spouting off her opinions, she appreciates coffee, lipstick, puns, and corgis. Follow her on Twitter @supbruss.

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