In a surprise move late this past week, the Trump administration filed a last-minute brief with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the nine justices to strip approximately 25 million Americans of their …
In a surprise move late this past week, the Trump administration filed a last-minute brief with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the nine justices to strip approximately 25 million Americans of their health care coverage in the midst of the worst pandemic in a century. In it, President Trump is seeking to have the Affordable Care Act thrown out in its entirety, a move that could potentially take away health care coverage for tens of millions of Americans.
The high court is expected to hear oral arguments in the case just as Americans are heading to the polls in this November’s presidential election.
There is almost no conceivable rationale for the administration’s actions, unless Donald Trump has decided he really doesn’t want to be President, after all. Not surprisingly, Democratic leaders in Washington couldn’t believe their good fortune. This is the same party that won the midterms largely on the issue of GOP efforts to undermine health care— and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
With presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden already leading the hapless Trump by double-digits in most recent polls, being able to paint the president as cruel on top of incompetent should be icing on the cake. Keep in mind what would be lost if President Trump has his way and the ACA is wiped away:
• Protections for pre-existing conditions. In the past, insurance companies routinely refused to cover people with existing medical problems or increased their rates to punishing levels. The ACA ended that practice.
• Expanded Medical Assistance eligibility. Most of the roughly 25 million who gained insurance coverage through the ACA did so through Medical Assistance, a comprehensive federal insurance program for low-income individuals and many children.
• Advanced tax credits that substantially reduce the out-of-pocket expenses for those who purchase insurance through the individual private insurance market. These tax credits save many families and individuals many thousands of dollars a year on their health coverage.
• The ability to keep young people on their parents’ health plans until age 26.
• Limits on insurance company profits.
There, of course, are many more parts to the ACA, but these are some of the biggest changes in U.S. health care law that have helped to cut the rolls of the uninsured in half since the law’s enactment.
President Trump claims he has plans to replace the ACA with “something fantastic and more affordable,” yet most Americans should, by now, recognize that most of what President Trump says is mere puffery or preening, without meaning or substance. He already had the chance, along with congressional Republicans, to offer up an alternative to the ACA in 2017 and they all struck out.
The reality is, while the ACA is far from perfect, it’s a fairly cohesive set of concepts that work in combination with one another, yet don’t work in isolation. The only viable alternative is a single-payer option, which is a road the GOP would never travel. The truth is, Republicans have no alternative because the ACA was their alternative. They simply refused to vote for it when it was proposed by Democrats.
None of this matters to Trump, of course. As numerous former high-level staff have reported in recent months, Trump only cares about the politics of his actions, not the repercussions to America. President Trump is gambling on a “base strategy” in his re-election bid, rather than trying to appeal to the majority of Americans. And for his hardcore supporters, eliminating all vestiges of America’s first black president ranks right up at the top of their list of priorities. If 25 million Americans have to lose their health insurance to help Trump turn out his base, that’s all fine within this president’s amoral universe. It’s the same “who cares?” mentality that’s left the United States as the world’s coronavirus basket case.
It’s time for Americans— all Americans— to tell this president that they care. Enough, that is, to get out and vote this November.