America’s incoming Republican administration has wasted no time in opening hostilities with the beaten Democrats, declaring war on President Obama’s health reforms.
On Wednesday Obama was forced to go to congress, making a rare and highly symbolic appearance there in a last-ditch attempt to save his signature health insurance policy.
The visit coincided with one by the vice-president-elect Mike Pence. He came to congress to remind it that his man, the new president, was committed to scrapping the Affordable Care Act.
“The architecture of the replacement of Obamacare will come together, as it should, through the legislative process in the weeks and months ahead. But the American people voted for change in November and that all begins with repealing and replacing the failed policy of Obamacare,” said Pence.
The Democrats have very little room to manoeuver in their defence of the law, but cling to the hope that tearing up the law will spark a wave of anger nationwide, and that their rivals have no real alternative suggestion to replace it.
“They have no ideas. Their theme is to repeal and then delay, or some day they’re going to come up with a new plan. You don’t destroy a house without having another house in which people can live,” raged former presidential candidate Senator Bernie Saunders.
WATCH:— CSPAN (@cspan) 5 janvier 2017
SenSanders</a> displays and quotes <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump">realdonaldtrump tweets on Senate floor. Full speech here: https://t.co/MZjL9FDoHP #ACA pic.twitter.com/VfA0wNvhVr
Before the law came into force 47 million Americans lived in fear of falling sick, with no health insurance, out of a population of 320 million. Since 2010 20 million more Americans have been able to get health cover.
Signed in March 2010 to great fanfare the Act was wrestled into being by Obama and cost the Democrats dearly in the legislative battle to make it law. Since then the Affordable Care Act has faced more than 50 Republican attempts to water it down or destroy it completely.
Republicans even took the Act to the Supreme Court in a bid to get it invalidated.
Conservatives consider it a state intrusion into the healthcare market, and Donald Trump says it does not work.
“On healthcare, we are going to get rid of Obamacare, repeal it and replace it. It’s caused soaring double-digit insurance premium increases and we’re going to give choice to patients and consumers across our land,” said Trump on the campaign trail in August.
The day after Trump’s only meeting with Barack Obama in the Oval office in the middle of November Trump toned down his criticisms, saying he would be only be “amending” the law.