On October 16th, Donald Trump declared Obamacare dead. “Obamacare is finished,” he proclaimed. “It’s dead. It’s gone. You shouldn’t even mention it. It’s gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore.”
And he’s basically right: The Affordable Care Act as it was passed and originally implemented is a thing of the past. It didn’t take the passage of a new health care law for Trumpcare to become the law of the land. That happened almost exclusively through the efforts of Donald Trump and his compliant supplicants in Congress:
- Nearly all of the expenditures to publicize the sign-up period for healthcare through Healthcare.gov were eliminated.
- The budget for so-called “healthcare navigators”, people who help folks find their ways through the complicated process of picking the right policy for their lives, was slashed.
- The sign-up period itself was dramatically shortened.
- Healthcare.gov will be shut down for half a day on weekends throughout most of the enrollment period, days where working people are most likely to do their “shopping” for a policy.
- Cost sharing reduction payments to health insurers to stabilize the insurance system have been eliminated.
Throughout all of this, our Commander-in-Chief has loudly proclaimed that “Obamacare is in a death spiral,” hoping it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Now, there are some parts of the ACA that still exist. If you’re poor enough to received healthcare subsidies through the federal government, your costs won’t change because the law still on the books increases your subsidy by the same amount as any cost increases. But health insurance costs overall are going to skyrocket so Trumpcare as it exists today will simply cause the USA to spend MORE money on health insurance, using our tax dollars, than we would have without all of this blatant sabotage by Donald Trump as he recreated Obamacare as Trumpcare.
His sabotage is having precisely the impact he wanted to. Healthcare costs are skyrocketing. A headline in today’s Detroit Free Press declares, “Obamacare rates in Michigan could skyrocket as much as 31% in 2018.”
It is a false headline. Costs ARE going to skyrocket in Michigan and elsewhere. But it has absolutely nothing to do with Obamacare. It DOES, however, have everything to do with Trumpcare.
Congratulations, Mr. Trump. You are now operating under the The Pottery Barn rule: “You broke it, you bought it.”
Obamacare is dead. Trumpcare is here. And the result is going to be higher healthcare costs, more people sicker and dying because of lack of access to affordable healthcare, and massive new federal deficits.
If you get health insurance through your employer, you aren’t immune. As healthcare costs rise, your coverage will likely take a hit and any extra money used to pay for it won’t be available for your annual raise.
Meanwhile, this afternoon the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget already approved by the Senate that will put in place the Trump Tax Scam which will give a sloppy wet kiss to millionaires and billionaires in the form of massive tax breaks while raising taxes on many middle class Americans, cutting $1 trillion from Medicaid and another half trillion from Medicare, driving up healthcare costs for Americans even more.
The bill they passed, which will also balloon the deficit by $1.5 trillion, will allow all of this happen with a simple majority vote in the Senate rather than the 60-vote threshold needed for all healthcare bills since the enactment of the ACA. I probably don’t need to remind you that Senate Republicans enjoy a 52-46 majority. They can lose a couple of votes and still do this.
The Trump millionaire/billionaire tax break has all the elements that Republicans hate when Democrats are in the majority: massive budget deficits and cutting Medicaid and Medicare. But they willingly admit they are only against these things when Democrats are in charge. The blatant hypocrisy is breathtaking.
Obamacare is dead. Long live Trumpcare. At least until we can Reveal and Replace these cold, callous ideologues with people with actual compassion for America and its citizens.
In the meantime, the Koch brothers, the Mercers, the Devos family, and all the others who are super-wealthy all collectively cheered at the news today. Now they will have the opportunity to trickle down on the rest of us.
And we all know what THAT means.