EDITOR’S NOTE: During the run-up to the 2020 presidential sweepstakes — hopefully without any interference from Russian operatives promoting Trump’s re-election bid — The Shinbone Star will highlight Big Lies uttered and promoted on a daily basis by the current occupant of the White House and provide commentary on new “whoppers” that hurt the working men and women of America. Today we tackle the tragic empty health care plan promises of The Donald and his Republican cronies.
Donald J. Trump wants Americans to wait at least two more years for his oft-promised “beautiful” and “less costly” health care plan designed to replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that never passed a Republican-controlled Congress.
The Donald now promises he will make it happen after he’s re-elected. Don’t believe it for one second. It’s just another sucker line from a snake oil salesman who will say and do anything to hold onto an office that feeds his failing family business enterprise.
It’s a bigger lie than the ones he told voters during his Russian-backed 2016 presidential campaign and during the first two-plus years of his criminal and unethical administration of our country’s government. At rallies across the country before and after he won the White House, he promised he would “repeal and replace” President Obama’s hallmark health care legislative initiative.
Let’s look at the Big Lies on health care Trump and his cabal of GOP lawmakers have shouted from the rooftops of our nation’s capital for more than two years.
Big health care lie Number One:
Any GOP-authored health care plan will “provide insurance for everyone.”
He promised voters in 2016 the GOP would wipe out “Obamacare” — the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — and replace it with a plan that would “provide insurance for everyone.” He promised that ending the ACA would shrink budgets and lower taxes for the wealthy.
Fact 1: The ACA was never repealed.
Fact 2: The ill-conceived American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017 proposed by Republican lawmakers killed any chance of universal coverage. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the AHCA hammered this point home: instead of expanding coverage, the AHCA would have taken coverage away from 24 million Americans while the ACA (Obamacare) had dropped the uninsured rate to historic lows.
Big health care lie Number Two:
No cuts to Medicaid.
Trump and GOP lawmakers promised any Republican-authored health care plan would not include “any cuts to Medicaid.” On the campaign trail in 2015, he tweeted the following:
“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.”
Unfortunately, one of the major factors that would have ended health care coverage to 24 million Americans under the failed AHCA was a proposed drastic cut to Medicaid funding. The AHCA altered Medicaid’s federal match rate for states into per capita caps. The slashing of Medicare funds was also a major source of budgetary savings in the proposed GOP health care plan.
According to the non-partisan CBO, it worked out to an $880 billion cut to Medicaid. That would have been nearly a trillion dollars slashed from Medicaid, a program that provides health coverage to those who need it most: children, people with low incomes, seniors in long-term care, and the disabled.
Big health care lie Number Three:
Pre-existing conditions will be included in a GOP-authored health care plan.
As part of his trashing of Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) and marketing of the failed GOP proposed program, Trump promised the American Health Care Act (AHCA) would be “every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.”
But in the only attempt at replacing the ACA, Republican lawmakers added an amendment to their proposed health care legislation that would have allowed states to opt-out of coverage for pre-existing conditions.
It’s important to note that Obamacare provides protection for people with pre-existing conditions. Insurers can’t deny coverage just for being sick or having a medical history. Trump and the GOP’s failed AHCA health care plan would have removed these protections. States would have been able to choose to submit a waiver to opt-out of the requirement that people can’t be charged for more having a pre-existing condition. GOP representatives stipulated that these waivers would be automatically granted.
As a result, AARP estimated at the time that premiums for people with pre-existing conditions could have climbed to more than $25,000 a year. Nearly 30 percent (some 52 million people) of the United States have some sort of pre-existing condition, and the list of illnesses or experience that applies is exhaustive.
Big health care lie Number Four:
Declaring the opioid epidemic a public health emergency and promising relief for it.
For the past few years the opioid epidemic in our country has often been front page and top segments on broadcast news programs. According to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the opioid crisis has cost our country more than $504 billion.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree the crisis needs to be addressed. Trump, in his usual snake-oil salesman mode, seized on the issue during the presidential campaign and after he moved into the White House. He promised relief to communities across the country attempting to end opioid abuse. He declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in October 2017 and issued an executive order that waived regulations and gave states more flexibility in how they use federal funds to combat the crisis.
Unfortunately, Trump is now turning his back on the crisis. In his FY2020 proposed federal budget he calls for a 95 percent cut to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. He proposes moving two major grant programs out of ONDCP. He also wants to make significant reductions to Medicaid (see “Big Health Care Lie Number 3” above), the core program that provides health care for people with substance use disorders. The president wants to cut the Justice Department’s drug prevention efforts and impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.
Big health care lie Number Five:
“Republicans are developing a really great Health Care Plan.”
Given his track record on health care plan promises, don’t believe what Trump says this time around, because it’s simply a trick to get re-elected. If he and his GOP lawmaking friends couldn’t deliver the goods when they controlled Congress, they’re going to have an even harder time trying to push through legislation that will negatively impact tens of millions of Americans with Democrats calling the shots in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Trump showed his hand in a recent spate of tweets. He clearly will make no effort to work with Democrats and will only try to fulfill his first-term “repeal and replace” promise if he wins a second term.
One of his recent late night tweets included this bit of flim-flam from the master snake oil salesman:
“The Republicans are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare. In other words it will be far less expensive & much more usable than ObamaCare. Vote will be taken right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House.”
Yeah, right Donald. Your big lies won’t get you anything but a trip back to New York and your gold-plated penthouse where you can entertain your Russian friends.