In the month since the House and Senate passed budget resolutions to begin repealing the Affordable Care Act, people around the country have flocked to town halls to tell their elected representatives why they should be working to improve the health care law, not dismantle it.
It happened again on Thursday night in Murfreesboro, TN, in an exchange captured by CNN national correspondent MJ Lee, when a high school teacher put her feelings about the individual mandate—basically the provision that holds the health care law together, and among the first things on the Republican chopping block—in practical and moral terms.
“As a Christian, my whole philosophy in life is pull up the unfortunate,” Jessi Bohon said. “The individual mandate: that’s what it does. The healthy people pull up the sick.”
The Republican alternative to the individual mandate requiring everyone to have insurance is to return to a failed model of pooling very sick people together as a way to isolate the costs from the insurance market. What that’s meant in the past are premiums that are sometimes 250% above market averages and deductibles high enough to be virtually unmeetable. That’s not comprehensive coverage, and lawmakers should be able to answer for that.
But Rep. Diane Black, a Republican who literally ran for Congress because she wanted to repeal the new health care law, couldn’t. Instead, she pointed to the gaps in the Affordable Care Act that have left 20 million without coverage.
Bohon, according to Lee’s report, pushed back: “How many of those people were in states where they played a political game with people’s lives” by not accepting the Medicaid expansion?
Black’s response: “I’m going to pass this one.”