Health Care Reform Part 4 discusses health care plans as put forth by Trump and Biden.
Left-leaning or right-leaning, the conclusions are the same: Right now Americans who have purchased insurance coverage are protected from bankruptcy. AND, they’re more likely to seek medical care in the early stages of illness or injury, thereby reducing overall health impact and financial burden. Since 2016 President Trump and Republicans in Congress have done everything in their power to gut the act, change its provisions, and work to eliminate coverage. They’ve targeted preventive medicine, reproductive care, coverage for LGBTQ individuals, and eligibility for people with pre-existing conditions. Trumpcare is a nickname for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) that was written by Republicans in the House of Representatives. For the AHCA to become law, the Senate would have to vote on the bill and pass it with a majority vote. So far, constituent pressure has prevented this from happening.
The Affordable Care Act was designed to extend coverage to uninsured Americans. It prevents insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions and requires plans to cover essential preventive health benefits. When written, the Act required everyone to purchase insurance (the individual mandate). The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the mandate was constitutional in 2012, but in December 2017, a Republican-controlled Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which eliminated the individual mandate penalty, effective January 1, 2019.
Republicans are much less enthusiastic about “big” government and much less supportive of a government role in health care than Democrats. The irony of this is that Republicans have consistently sought to control access to health care (mostly for women and LGBTQ individuals) while opposing the federal government’s role in providing health care.
By 2018, (2 years into the Trump/Pence administration) 8.5 percent of people, or 27.5 million, did not have health insurance at any point during the year because of executive actions, court challenges, and higher premiums. The uninsured rate and number of uninsured increased from 2017 (7.9 percent or 25.6 million). Currently, 75% of the uninsured are adults (ages 18–64 years), while one-quarter of the uninsured are children. Compared with other age groups, young adults are the most likely to go without coverage.
Summary if Trumpcare happens (Trump re-elected):
If you are under 65, good luck. Insurance will be prohibitively expensive for all but the rich or those employed in jobs that offer healthcare benefits. If you are over 65, still good luck. Medicare is also on the Republican chopping agenda along with cuts to the “entitlement” of Social Security.
Summary if Obamacare survives (Biden elected):
If the Senate and House of Representatives are split Democrat/Republican, it is unlikely anything will pass to reinstate benefits cut by Trump or to expand the act. If the Senate and House of Representatives both have a Democratic majority, expect reinstatement of cuts and expansion of benefits.
Why does this matter right now?
200,000 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19. Hundreds of thousands have been infected and will face lifelong health repercussions. Hundreds of thousands of previously insured Americans have lost their jobs and their healthcare coverage due to the economic disaster. The USA (and most of the world) is still in the grip of a relentless pandemic. That is a scientifically proven fact, not fiction or a conspiracy theory.
The Voter Values Project at Prescott Indivisible