The Real Reason Republicans Hate Obamacare

I think it is time to address the really black elephant in the room because it seems like people have been ignoring this humongous black elephant — that has an ass so big that it touches every corner of the room — for a long time. Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, 99 percent of the Republican Party (and its alt-right rejects) are so anxious to get rid of the Affordable Care Act for one reason: It’s called Obamacare.

We all saw this on that “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” episode a few years back. Kimmel interviewed people on the street, asking them if they prefer Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. Every white person on the film chose the Affordable Care Act, possibly because it sounds more American than socialist-like Obamacare, not knowing that they are the exact same thing. They heard a black name and instantly ran away from the product. It didn’t matter if the policy made sense or not because in America, “black” equals “bad.”

Fast forward to 2017 and Paul Ryan is still playing the same silly race game. The other day he sat down with Charlie Rose and told him:

We also think that a refundable tax credit is a smarter way to get people the ability to go buy insurance that they like that they can afford. That’s better than Obamacare’s subsidies. A refundable tax credit means you get assistance too, regardless of your income tax liability to buy care.

And that would be fine and good if it were an original idea, but it’s not. The ACA includes the same provision, calling it a premium tax credit. Ryan just made a poor attempt to switch the words around. Ryan needs to be honest with himself and the rest of his party­­: They’re exploiting the reality that many of their poorest followers would rather sacrifice their coverage and die than celebrate universal health care because it’s nicknamed after a black guy.

If Trump, Ryan and rest of the “I don’t have a racist bone in my body” white politicians really cared about all of the Americans who benefit from Obamacare, they wouldn’t cancel it. They could take their favorite parts of the bill and construct a newer version of the Affordable Care Act and even keep the cool “Obamacare” nickname, without the lapse in coverage that millions of Americans are about to face. But no. Can’t have a black guy’s name and legacy attached to one of the most important bills in the history of our country.

We can erect statues of a man like J. Marion Sims in Central Park and Confederate flags over state buildings in the South­­, but having a black guy’s name attached to universal health care is the worst thing in the world?

By this time next year, we will probably all have Trumpcare instead: a gaudy, watered-down version of Obamacare, written in monosyllabic language that probably makes the poorest Americans provide the best health care to the richest.

I hope it’s worth it.


Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.