Today, the House Republicans will vote on yet another GOP proposal on health care – no, not to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, but modify it – that will limit benefits and costs of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act. It will be the second (not counting a draft that wasn’t put for a vote at the last moment) attempt of the Trump administration to pass it. After intense negotiations, now the Republicans believe that they’ll have sufficient support to succeed.
The proposed GOP health care bill is very controversial. Patient advocacy groups (including American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society), consumers and Democrats are up in arms over the changes it proposes.
Apart from other unfavorable modifications, it endangers access to medical insurance of patients with pre-existing conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or cancer, not to mention people with congenital disorders and MANY others).
The two previous GOP health care proposals didn’t provide protections for people with pre-existing conditions. This one – as President Trump stated on CBS “Face The Nation” last Sunday – will.
His reassuring words aside, let’s consider the source. In his first 100 days in office alone, President Trump has been caught in a lie or made a misleading statement at least 488 times (according to Washington Post). The statements he made in regard to the 2010 Affordable Care Act alone are blatantly untrue. Here are a few them excerpted from Washington Post. (Click on the link for sources and detailed explanations.)
Falsehood: “We will save perhaps $900 billion….I’m saving a tremendous amount — hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars we’re saving on health care.”
Fact: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report on the Republican bill said it would reduce the deficit by $337 billion over the next decade. Trump appears to be referring to a $900 billion reduction in revenue from the repeal of Obamacare taxes, but that’s actually money lost to the federal government. The proposed law would have reduced federal spending on health care by $1.2 trillion but the repeal in taxes means the impact on the budget is significantly smaller.
Falsehood: “You’ve all heard my speeches. I never said repeal it and replace it within 64 days. I have a long time.”
Fact: He repeatedly pledged he’d start the repeal process on “day one” and that the repeal would be immediate. In a January 2017 interview, he said an Obamacare repeal vote would happen before his inauguration and replacement would come “very quickly or simultaneously, very shortly thereafter.”
Falsehood: “First of all, it covers very few people. And it’s imploding. And ’17 will be the worst year. And I said it once, I’ll say it again — because Obama is gone — things are going to be very bad this year for the people with Obamacare. They’re going to have tremendous increases.”
Fact: Credible estimates suggest the health-care law boosted the number of people with health insurance by 20 million. The Congressional Budget Office said that the individual market would be stable in most markets at least for the next ten years under the Affordable Care Act.
Falsehood in regard to Obamacare Website: “This is a website that works. This is not the $5 billion Obamacare website. Do we remember that? Nobody remembers that. Does anybody remember the $5 billion website? No, I don’t think so.”
Fact: The Obamacare website did not cost $5 billion. The Department of Health and Human Services offered an estimate that topped $800 million. A study by Bloomberg News, with a more expansive definition of federal spending, came up with an estimate of $2.1 billion. Moreover, while the website had trouble in its early months, those were quickly fixed and it now works.
Falsehood: “The House plan follows the guidelines I laid out in my recent address to Congress – expanding choice, lowering costs, and providing healthcare access for all.”
Fact: The House plan, as drafted, does not expand choice, lower costs and was estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to reduce the number of people with health insurance compared to current law.
Bottom line: be afraid, be very afraid especially if you or someone you love has a preexisting condition. Unlike any other president in American history, President Trump doesn’t consider taking care of vulnerable populations his responsibility.
UPDATE: Republicans succeeded in the first stage of the process; their bill passed in the House.
Mayor Garcetti in response to House vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act:
“Americans have been clear: If this is Trumpcare, we want to opt out. Health care is a fundamental right for all, not a privilege for the wealthy few — and the bill pushed through today by House Republicans would put lifesaving care out of reach for millions who desperately need it. No one should be allowed to die because they can’t afford to live, and this legislation would reintroduce that nightmare into the lives of families across America.”
Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich