While some folks celebrated Donald Trump and the GOP’s failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), my reaction was far more subdued. I was happy that, at least for that moment, Republicans had failed in their attempt to strip health care away from millions of people and gut Medicaid — but I knew what was coming.
If Republicans couldn’t repeal Obamacare, well, then they’d do their best to sabotage it — which is exactly what the Trump administration seems intent on doing.
Since Obamacare is too popular to repeal, even among many of their own voters, the only option Trump and congressional Republicans have is to do everything they can to undermine the law in any way possible. In doing so, they’re hoping their efforts will make premiums go up and fewer people will have health insurance, which would make any future attempt to repeal the law much easier to accomplish.
That way when premiums go up, and fewer people have insurance, they can say, “See, Obamacare is a disaster! It’s imploding! People can’t afford health insurance so they’re dropping it!” — knowing that the vast majority of Americans, especially their own voters, won’t realize that Republicans are the ones who’ve been working behind the scenes to sabotage the law.
It’s important to remember that, for the GOP, this isn’t about making health care better, cheaper, or covering more Americans — it’s just about repealing Obamacare, giving massive tax breaks to the rich, and gutting Medicaid. They don’t need to worry about coming up with a “better alternative to Obamacare,” because that’s not their goal. All they need to do is work on making the law less popular so that it’s easier to get rid of.
And according to the latest CBO report, it seems their plan is working.
As reported by CNN:
The Congressional Budget Office released a report Thursday that predicts Trump administration policies on Obamacare could help it on its way by leading to rising premiums and decreased enrollment in individual insurance markets over the next year.
Without calling the administration by name, the report names several policies the White House is pushing when explaining why average Obamacare premiums will increase substantially in 2018.
Uncertainty about cost-sharing subsidies the government pays to insurance companies — which Trump has repeatedly said he may withhold — are mentioned by the CBO’s report as a significant driver of higher costs for the insured. The failure to promise these payments, along with reductions in advertising to inform people about the markets and employees who sign-up enrollees, can only “push enrollment down,” the report says.
In other words, because Trump’s cast doubt on whether or not the government will pay these cost-sharing subsidies to insurance companies, the CBO is predicting that many of them will raise the cost of premiums as a result. The report also says that Trump’s drastic reduction in advertising for Obamacare will lead to fewer people signing up for health insurance.
Not only will fewer people have health insurance next year because they simply won’t be able to afford it due to the spike in premiums tied to Trump’s threat not to pay out these subsidies to health insurance companies, but the number of people who sign up for health care is almost certainly going to decline after this administration cut funding for advertising.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans who do keep insurance are almost certainly going to be paying more for health care next year, not because of Obamacare, but because of the efforts by Trump and the Republican Party to sabotage this law.
Donald Trump and the GOP are literally playing games with people’s lives. They’re not trying to make health care better, more affordable, or see that more Americans have health insurance. They couldn’t care less about any of that. For them, this is about doing whatever they can to undermine the Affordable Care Act, hoping that by doing so they’ll gain enough support to finally repeal the law, pass their massive tax breaks for the rich, and gut Medicaid. Which, of course, will lead to millions of Americans no longer having health insurance.
Make no mistake about it, if Donald Trump and the Republican Party get their way, we’ll see this nation go from making positive changes and progress toward universal health care, to complete and utter disaster in a matter of a few years.
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