by Tyler Durden
Jan 8, 2017 9:36 AM
With the Obamacare repeal process having officially started (the replacement of the Affordable Care Act is a different matter entirely, and will likely take years to be enacted), outgoing president Obama is watching his biggest legacy slowly melt before his eyes, and has started to point fingers. One unexpected place where he is casting blame is criticism from the far left wing of his own Democratic Party which he says helped feed into the unpopularity of Obamacare.
At a town hall event with Vox Media, Obama acknowledged the politics have been stacked against his reforms, mainly blaming Republicans who he said refused to help make legislative fixes to Obamacare, which provides subsidies for private insurance to lower-income Americans who do not have healthcare plans at work. But Obama also said Liberals like former Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders had contributed to the program's unpopularity according to Reuters
During Sanders' campaign for the presidential nomination, he proposed replacing Obamacare with a government-run single-payer health insurance system based on Medicare, the government plan for elderly and disabled Americans.
"In the 'dissatisfied' column are a whole bunch of Bernie Sanders supporters who wanted a single-payer plan," Obama said in the interview.
"The problem is not that they think Obamacare is a failure. The problem is that they don't think it went far enough and that it left too many people still uncovered," Obama said.
Ironically Sanders believes that Obama did not go far enough in finalizing the law which is viewed unfavorably by more Americans than those who have a favorable view of Obamacare.
Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Sanders, agreed that many people would rather the government "take on the private insurance industry and the pharmaceutical companies" and play a bigger role in providing healthcare.
"There are many millions of Americans, including many of Bernie's supporters, who don’t understand why we are the only major country on earth that does not provide healthcare as a right and they don’t understand why we pay more but get less for what we spend on healthcare," Briggs said.
Polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation last month showed 46 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Obamacare, while 43 percent have a favorable view. Americans are also split on whether the law should be repealed.
As noted previously, Trump and congressional Republicans have vowed to quickly repeal the law, but Obama and Democrats have argued they should reveal a replacement plan before dismantling the program.
While the White House is adamant that more than 20 million previously uninsured Americans gained health coverage through Obamacare, the outcome has been one of soaring costs while services rendered have deteriorated. Coverage was extended by expanding the Medicaid program for the poor and through online exchanges where consumers can receive income-based subsidies.
Obama has been spending part of his last two weeks in office urging supporters to speak out against plans by Republicans - who will soon control both the White House and Congress - to dismantle the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
Last week the Senate official launched the process of repealing Obamacare.