Even Obamacare’s biggest haters wouldn’t end it during the largest global health crisis in a century
To get us out of the Depression, FDR’s New Deal created a safety net for Americans and got people working again. In 2020, 1 in 4 Americans will be out of work. By pushing to end health coverage for millions — and limit it for tens of millions more — Trump is creating a Reverse New Deal, taking away our safety net as we loss employment.
Last week Trump doubled down on a meritless Supreme Court case to nullify the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) due to be heard this Fall. If successful, it would end health care coverage for 20 million more people and pre-existing condition protection would disappear for all.
It would also raise drug costs on millions of seniors, allow lifetime limits, end Medicaid expansion, raise prices on older people and people with pre-existing conditions, end out of pocket cost limits, end the public health and prevention fund, and end required preventive benefits:
- Public Health and Prevention Fund: GONE
- Marketplace tax credits and coverage for ~10 million people: GONE
- Medicaid expansion currently covering ~17 million people: GONE
- Protections for 133 million people with preexisting conditions when they buy coverage on their own: GONE
- Allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26: GONE
- Ban on annual and lifetime limits: GONE
- Ban on insurance discrimination against women: GONE
- Limit on out-of-pocket costs: GONE
- Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs: GONE
- Essential Health Benefits: GONE
- Required improvements to employer-sponsored coverage: GONE
- Rules to hold insurance companies accountable: GONE
- Small business tax credits: GONE
At a time of a global pandemic, when tens of millions more will be added to the list of people with preexisting conditions — and many will lose their jobs and require preexisting protections — this is an assault on older, poorer, and sicker Americans when they are getting ravaged by Covid-19.
During a pandemic, what puts me at risk puts you at risk.
At a time when some Americans are worried about their rights being infringed upon, Trump is asking Americans to give up rights so insurance companies can label people and deny them care.
In a time of COVID-19, ‘Obamacare’ still part of the action
Just as we’re trying to contain outbreaks in this pandemic, Trump’s actions will only add fuel to the fire when hot spots break out.
National, state, and city uninsured rates would skyrocket.
- The national uninsured rate would increase by 65%
- In Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, the number of uninsured people would climb by more than 133%
- In Florida, an additional 1.5 million uninsured people would drive up the state’s uninsured rate by 67%
- The uninsured populations in Baltimore, Cleveland, Louisville, Philadelphia, Sacramento, and San Francisco would swell by between 130 and more than 170 percent
- The uninsured populations in Albuquerque, Denver, Detroit, Portland, Seattle, Washington DC, and several California cities, including Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland, San Diego, and San Jose, would roughly double, expanding by about 100 to 120 percent
All while Americans are losing access to health care in droves. 27 million more Americans have lost health care coverage due to Coronavirus. Trump is trying to keep it that way by trying to overturn the ACA.
Trump’s decision would be a massive blow to health care providers. At a time when we are bailing hospitals out with hundreds of billions of dollars, uncompensated care costs would increase by $50 billion.
It’s not as if this Reverse New Deal doesn’t benefit anyone. The rich will receive billions in tax cuts if Obamacare is overturned.
As Nicholas Bagley and I wrote about the original case, the case itself is a baseless cynical ploy that counts on judges acting on their politics:
Donald Trump and the Republican Party just put America’s health care squarely on the November ballot. After a year of…
Today, friend of the court briefs opposing this effort were filed by nearly everybody in health care — patients, clinicians, scientists, public health experts, conservatives, liberals. Over 70 leading health organizations and 56 leading legal and health experts filed amicus briefs. This would “plunge millions of Americans into an abyss of prolonged uncertainty.”
What’s next: Throughout the summer more briefs will be filed. Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, the case was scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court in October. Now it may be pushed off. We should know when in August.
Trump’s team of course is hoping for a delay. They don’t want this heard before the election. They would like to be able to pick more conservative Justices. It’s cynical.
I understand that the ACA has been a lightning rod issue for the last decade. As I came in to turn around and implement it, we had to spend nearly half our time defending it from attacks.
Trump has been no friend to Medicaid, Medicare or the ACA and his stance hasn’t been popular. Ripping out people’s health coverage and leaving them bare is hard to justify. But a global pandemic and manmade depression showed how much the ACA and more more are needed.
Still the pandemic was the perfect opportunity for Trump to back away from a fringe and radical effort to tear down the ACA. Who would end access to health care coverage during a time when 27 million new people have lost their coverage?
Even the greatest ACA haters wouldn’t get rid of it now. One would have to hate something far more than the ACA to pursue this now. The decision not only imperils the country, but Trump’s political future. The hatred and jealousy of Obama is all consuming.
Even in a global pandemic, some tribal habits run deeper: deeper than economic recovery, deeper than lives lost.
Those of us working across party lines to try to save lives know the favor would never be returned by this Administration if the roles were reversed. Yet we do it anyway. Too much is at stake. There is plenty of rhetoric that aims to divide the country right now. Most of it doesn’t amount to much. Some of it does but are natural tensions. Taking health care away in a pandemic rises to a special level.
Trump’s Reverse New Deal, taking health care coverage, liability shields for business, no front line protection, eliminated nursing home regulations, refusal to coordinate the Defense Production Act — they are all self-inflicted on top of the largest global health crisis of the century.