The effort to erode what’s become an entitlement is a massive political gamble
In poll after poll in the US the biggest issue to voters is not Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, the economy or immigration but the efforts by the Republicans to water down the limited public health provision that’s available in the US.
Last year, it will be recalled, Trump’s plan to abolish Obamacare completely was undermined by the late Senator John McCain who rebelled against his party in the Senate to block the move.
Since that vote the Trump administration has taken every opportunity to use executive powers to curb what Obamacare provides and although it has yet to become a media campaign issue the Democrats in race after race are seeking to exploit this to the full.
The worry about health care costs is huge for many Americans particularly those with someone in their family with pre existing conditions which the private insurers are reluctant to provide cover for.
There’s an excellent overview of the political potency of US health care by Robert Pearl in Forbes. He notes:
“.. healthcare consumes 18% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and that national healthcare spending now exceeds $3.4 trillion annually.. Americans aren’t getting what they pay for. The United States has the lowest life expectancy and highest childhood mortality rate among the 11 wealthiest nations.. “
When the NHS was being established in the UK 70 years ago the Conservatives were against. When Churchill was returned to power in 1951 his government was smart enough to leave it in place – a lesson perhaps for the President.
In the betting the Democratic Party remains odds on favourite to win back the House of Representatives with the Republicans favourite to retain control of the Senate.