I don't why the Democrats didn't vote for a bill they were locked out of which was drafted behind closed doors. The nerve of them people...
Yet, the Republicans were ridiculed for not voting for the ACA in the first place, when it was crafted behind closed doors, and they were locked out. Seems you drink the blue kool-aid a little too much.
The Republican replacement plans were just as bad as the ACA is. The only thing they were doing right was getting rid of the individual mandate. The individual and employer mandates make the ACA a de-facto single payer law. As with single payer, our finances are going to be wrecked the same with the ACA is going to wreck it. The problem isn't the insurance companies, and it never was. The problem is the health care providers. The prices they charge for services, and supplies, is astronimical. They can raise them all they want to, because the government (Medicaid / Medicare) will pay, and the insurance providers will try to haggle some, but in the end, they will just pay it and raise insurance rates. Neither party wants to mess with that system, so they just made everyone buy insurance.
Now, I would assume that you aren't making the kind of money to where taking the penalty is a massive advantage, financially. I was in that situation over the past two years. I am a programmer, and I was doing contract work. I was making 25 an hour at one job, and 30 an hour at another. The company that placed me with the two places I worked, did offer insurance, at 400 dollars a month for me, and 800 for my wife and I. I decided to look on the exchange to see if I could find some "Affordable" care, and hell no I didn't. They wanted 1k fro my wife and I. I sure the hell am not going to pay 12k a month for insurance that I do not use. If there is an emergency, a hospital has to treat me, by law, so I am covered in that instance, and just have to hope it isn't too costly. Also, if it isn't an emergency, then I can just fly to my wifes country, Korea, and get whatever treatment I need there, for a fraction of the price here.
Just like most legislation, the ACA was designed to ensure that one party looks like they care about people, while ensuring they continue to get votes. Also, if you are the party of big government, the bigger it gets, the more votes you get due to people voting in their best interests. The sad reality is, government control over the economy has failed everywhere is has been implemented. The bigger the government, the worst the economy is. Just look at China (which started to go capitilist in the 90s), Vietnam (recently started to embrace capitialism), Venezula (who abandoned capitialism for communism and is falling apart now), North Korea (bless their heart, they just wont let go), USSR (The old Soviet Empire for the people who were screwed by their eductional system, this one failed in the 90s, and now all those countries are capitilist), and Cuba (bless their heart too).
The narrative of today is about socialism, except, socialism needs a viable economic model underneath. There are only two economic models present in the modern age, capitalism and communism. Socialism based off of capitalism is what Europe has, as well as the US, Japan, and most all other socialist countries. Socialism based off of communism is what the Soviet Union had, North Korea has, Vietnam is transitioning from, China has transitioned from, Venezula was transitioning too, and what America seems to be trying to transition to (at least the progressives). Communism leads to authoratarianism everywhere it is enacted. Venezula is a democracy, but the president is working on changing that, even trying to change their constitution, due to the fact that communism has failed there and he doesn't want to give up power. It is a mess. In Venezula, how good is their health care now? How good is it in Vietnamn, China, etc? Where does most of the medical advances come from, what country? Can we continue to make those types of advances if we gut the cost of healthcare, and people move on to other industries to work for? This isn't a simple problem.
What I would like to see is the ACA removed, minimum insurance requirements removed as well. Let people pick what they want, let their be actual competition within the industry. Now, we can't actually have competition within the emergency services, you don't get to pick your ambulance or hospital in the event of an emergency. So, for them, they should be a regulated monopoly, like many utilities are. For regular medical services, let them compete on price. Health care was more affordable before the ACA (sadly, it was still overpriced). It isn't going to be getting any better now that you have to buy insurance, no matter what they charge for it. No incentive at all to lower the cost.
Socialized medicine works in Europe, sure, but they don't have a two party system. They are held more accountable by their voters than we hold our politicians (congress has less than a 15% approval rate, but over an 80% re-election rate, mainly due to two choices every time). Our government wastes money like there is no tomorrow, and they will constantly pay well above market rate just to keep getting elected. They never want to make the hard choices, and do what is needed to ensure that the government will be able to meet its obligations in the future. The sad reality is, it is legal to bribe people for their vote, as long as you are using tax payer money.
So far, what I have noticed in the last decade, is that the Republicans are all talk, they don't do a damn thing, while the Democrats are the ones that actually write legislation that hurts people. Some of it is good, but they have done a lot of damage to the middle class, that they so champion. They both care about the rich, neither care about the poor. Neither pay their fair share of taxes (gotta love the loopholes and tax breaks they put in their for themselves and their rich buddies). Quit drinking the kool-aid. The reality is, all governments throughout history have served the rich and powerful, ALL. The only thing us little people can really hope for is that some of these policies actually make things better for us.
Now, I will leave you to ponder this. If the ACA is so great, why did the people who crafted it, and voted for it, exempt themselves from it? Everyone in this country has to abide by the ACA, except congress. Bet they know something that we don't.....