April 29 marked Donald Trump’s first 100 days as President. When it comes to health care, Trump’s first 100 days have been about breaking every single promise he made on his way to the White House.
For starters, Trump said, “We’re going to have insurance for everybody.” But that’s not true. Under the House bill that Trump supports, 52 million Americans will be without insurance in 2026.
Trump also said that, “there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid,” but the House plan will cut $880 billion from Medicaid alone.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said: “We don’t want anyone who currently has insurance to not have insurance.” But the the House repeal bill would take health care away from 24 million people.
Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, said that “nobody will be worse off financially” after the Congress repeals Obamacare. But rates will go up 15-20 percent in the first two years, and costs will skyrocket for older Americans. For example, a 64-year-old man making $26,500 a year would see his health costs increase nearly $13,000, thanks to a dramatic reduction in the tax credits people will receive to buy coverage in the Obamacare marketplace.
Here’s the good news – Trump and the Republicans in Congress also promised to repeal the ACA back in January. Trump even vowed to repeal the ACA on “day one” of his presidency. But they still haven’t been able to repeal the law because of the public uprising against the plan.
Over the April recess period, for example, Members of Congress went home to their districts and were overwhelmed by support for Obamacare. Thousands turned out at town halls, the ACA is at its most popular ever, and the Republican bill has the support of only 17 percent of Americans.
They came back this week with the MacArthur amendment, which makes minor changes to the existing proposal and basically makes a bad bill worse. The latest deal would:
- Allows insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing conditions more for their health coverage. The proposal guts the protection against health insurers hiking premiums for people with pre-existing conditions.
- Lets insurers sell barebones insurance that doesn’t cover essential health services and caps coverage. This would allow insurance companies to refuse to cover hospitals, doctors, prescriptions, lab tests, mental health, maternity and newborn care, preventive care, and substance abuse. There’s a reason these are called “essential health benefits” in the existing law. Eliminating essential health benefits also eliminates the prohibition on health insurance companies putting annual or lifetime limits on how much they pay for your care.
- Cuts coverage while turning over $600 billion in tax breaks to the wealthiest households making over $250,000 a year, and the insurance industry and prescription drug companies.
These proposals would take us backwards – way backwards – back to the days when we were all at the mercy of the big insurance companies, the days when you could lose your coverage because you got sick, be denied coverage altogether because you had a health care condition, or be forced to pay higher premiums for coverage because you actually needed health care.
The extreme Members of the Freedom Caucus who want total repeal of the ACA and radical changes in Medicaid endorsed the MacArthur Amendment, even though the repeal plan still wrecks Americans’ health care and hurts their own constituents.
That means that in the first 100 days, there has been no attempt to improve the ACA, make health care more affordable, or protect Medicaid and Medicare. In fact, the only health care Members of Congress have protected is their own since the MacArthur proposal would exempt Members of Congress from any adverse impacts that their repeal bill would inflict on the rest of us.