President Donald Trump promised over and over he would not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. He even boldly told the conservative Heritage Foundation, “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.”
President Trump, as a candidate, mocked fellow Republican primary candidate Mike Huckabee for echoing his promise not to cut these programs. “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid,” he tweeted. “Huckabee copied me.”
This past Thursday, President Trump held a party in the Rose Garden to celebrate a massive, devastating cut to Medicaid. House Republicans had just passed the American Health Care Act of 2017, a bill that includes nearly $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for America’s highest-income citizens with nearly $1 trillion in health services cuts for America’s lowest-income citizens.
In honor of this – in honor of a shameless broken promise and a bill that would cost 24 million Americans their health insurance – President Trump held a party.
Of course, this was like spiking the football after a first down instead of a touchdown. They have neither repealed nor replaced Obamacare – not yet at least. The U.S. Senate will have to pass their version of a health care bill, and the U.S. House and U.S. Senate will then have to reconcile their two versions, both pass a compromise bill, and obtain President Trump’s signature before any law actually changes.
So with so much work left to do why was President Trump partying with House Republicans in the Rose Garden? Because they believe they’ve scored a political victory and right now, with an unprecedentedly low approval rating, President Trump will do anything to put political points on the board. Apparently that includes decimating health care for millions of Americans.
So much for Trump not being a politician, this is as political as it gets. More than that, it’s political at the expense of people’s lives. This bill does not provide more people with better health care. It takes health care away from people and makes what is provided worse. President Trump and House Republicans claim they want to fix Obamacare. This is like “fixing” a wobbly chair by smashing it to pieces.
Trumpcare as passed by House Republicans is the most remarkably cruel piece of legislation I’ve ever seen. This legislation would allow states to let insurance companies charge insanely high rates to people with pre-existing conditions. It would remove out-of-pocket caps for employer-based plans, restoring lifetime limits for 129 million Americans. It would skyrocket premiums for older Americans while moving younger Americans toward high-deductible plans. It would render health care unaffordable for many, and by dint of that it would literally cost lives.
It would allow middle-class families to be hurled into bankruptcy and destitution in the event they are misfortunate enough to suffer catastrophic illness or injury, the only two causes of human mortality. It is not a plan for everyday Americans’ health care; it is a plan for rich Americans’ wealth care.
So it should be no surprise that it’s opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Osteopathic Association, the American Hospital Association, and the AARP, among many others.
We have the hated Obamacare – the Affordable Care Act – to thank for insurance companies being unable to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Trumpcare – the American Health Care Act – proposes to let them price people out of affordability instead. We have the hated Obamacare to thank for employer-based plans that don’t include caps because sometimes people get cancer, for instance, and treatment is very expensive. Trumpcare proposes to remove those caps and let families go broke.
We have the hated Obamacare that sought to pool older, less healthy people with younger, healthy people to reduce costs. Trumpcare seeks to again divide the pool to increase costs for older people and reduce benefits for younger people. We have the hated Obamacare that resulted in 20 million more Americans finally having health insurance. Trumpcare is projected to take health insurance away from 24 million.
It is disgustingly heartless and careless, and these politicians who voted for it should be ashamed of themselves. They do not represent the America that I love.
D.C. DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure. He has also written for Government Executive online, the National Journal’s Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He is the Associate Editor of The Athens NEWS in Athens, Ohio. DeWitt can be found on Facebook and Twitter @DC_DeWitt.