At this point in American political polarization, many Americans take their cue from party leaders. Therefore, when Republican politicians propose “repeal and replace” plans that preserve preexisting condition protections for voters they know that is what their supporters desire.
Why do so many Republicans oppose Obamacare so vigorously?
1. They don’t like the individual mandate
The individual mandate required people to enroll in health insurance or pay a fee, helping to protect the market and maintain lower premiums.
Since Obamacare’s implementation, millions of Americans have gained health coverage either through Medicaid expansion or exchanges despite right-wing criticism of this law. Americans overwhelmingly approve of its benefits.
Regulation of the individual market was intended to ensure insurers would not price people with preexisting conditions out of insurance, while taxing wealthy people to fund subsidies for those who could not afford coverage themselves. It seemed logical, as this allowed for smooth market functioning while keeping premiums low for everyone involved.
Why do Republicans oppose it so vigorously? Perhaps because they perceive it as evidence of big government. This goes against their decades-long mantra that less government is better.
2. They don’t like the taxes
One reason that Republicans dislike Obamacare so strongly is its taxes that fund it. The Affordable Care Act raises taxes on the wealthy to provide subsidies for poor people who can’t afford health insurance, which rankles many conservatives and libertarians who oppose this law.
Though most Americans, including most Republicans, do not want the Affordable Care Act or preexisting condition protections overturned, Republicans find it extremely challenging to propose an alternative. While most believe expanding health coverage is beneficial, without mandates such as those found within ACA regulations governing benefits or preemption of state insurance regulation this goal would become impossible; such action would end up transferring tax subsidies from poor to rich instead.
3. They don’t like the way the law is written
As a political issue, Obamacare is highly divisive. Democrats support it while Republicans wish to repeal and replace it; this divide can be seen when hearings take place before the Supreme Court on whether to overturn ACA protections for pre-existing conditions.
Obamacare caused division due to how it was written: it reduced coverage gaps by expanding Medicaid and offering eligible households subsidies to purchase private health plans in online marketplaces; these market-based reforms seemed reasonable to Democratic voters but displease many Republicans who favor more traditional solutions: for example income or premium-related subsidy payments or mandating that insurance companies spend 85 percent of their revenue on actual health care rather than bonuses, perks, or administrative costs.
This tension has had an enormous effect on how debate is structured. A recent poll demonstrated this point by showing most American voters do not want the Supreme Court to overturn either pre-existing condition protections or any of the other coverage improvements of ACA; many Republican voters even state their desire for these features to remain.
4. They don’t like the way the law is funded
Republican conservatives frequently criticized Obamacare due to its use of income-based subsidies designed to make private plans affordable for households. These subsidies depended on how much a household spent relative to its plan cost; as income increased, purchasers got bigger subsidies based on spending patterns. Republicans often complained that such plans discouraged work while encouraging families to seek costly treatments such as knee replacements or cardiac care which weren’t needed anyway.
Obamacare also caused outrage among fiscal conservatives with its regulations for insurers that limited profits by capping them and forcing them to spend at least 85% of revenues on actual medical care rather than administration costs, bonuses and perks for executives or bonuses and perks for executives. Republicans who espouse free market principles saw these restrictions on profitability as an attempt by Washington to micromanage health insurance industry operations.