Since taking office earlier this year, President Trump, his administration and allies in Congress have waged an unrelenting war against our health care. Their twin weapons have been repeal and sabotage. The innocent victims are the American people. Their agenda takes health care away from millions, raises costs for millions more, guts protections for people with preexisting conditions, and purposely destroys the insurance markets. And they have done it without listening to the American people, health care experts, or engaging in a hint of bipartisanship.
President Trump famously said “the best thing we can do…is let Obamacare explode” and “let it be a disaster because we can blame that on the Democrats.” But as his actions this show clearly, he and his allies in Congress are not letting Obamacare fail, they are making Obamacare fail.
In Congress, they tried five separate times to completely repeal health care — starting with the so-called American Health Care Act (AHCA) in the House, then the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), a partial repeal bill, Graham-Cassidy, and “skinny” repeal bills in the Senate. At the White House and HHS, they sabotaged open enrollment, took direct aim at birth control, instructed their cabinet secretaries to disobey the law, and stopped funding the payments that kept out of pocket costs low for millions of our fellow citizens. They just snuck in a repeal of a key provision of the Affordable Care Act that will raise premiums by double digits and increase the number of uninsured by millions, so they can give massive tax breaks to billionaires and large corporations.
Here is some of what they did in 2017:
- On his first day in office, President Trump signed an Executive Order directing the administration to find any ways they could to unravel the Affordable Care Act.
- The Trump administration cut the number of days people could sign up for coverage during open enrollment by half, from 90 days to 45 days.
- House Republicans voted for and passed a health care repeal bill that causes 23 million people to lose coverage and guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
- The Trump administration cut the outreach advertising budget for open enrollment by 90 percent, from $100 million to just $10 million – likely to result in 1.1 million fewer people getting covered. Advertising is a critical way for people to know when and how they can get covered.
- Republicans refused to move forward on the bipartisan Alexander Murray bill even though it had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.
- Senate Republicans tried but failed to pass BCRA, Skinny Repeal and Graham-Cassidy, all of which would cause millions to lose their health coverage and raise premiums by double digits for millions more..
- The administration ordered the Department of Health and Human Services’ regional directors to stop participating in open enrollment events. Mississippi Health Advocacy Program Executive Director Roy Mitchell said, “I didn’t call it sabotage…But that’s what it is.”
- The administration dramatically cut in-person assistance that helped people sign up for 2018 coverage.
- The Trump administration took direct aim at birth control by rolling back a rule that guaranteed women access to contraception. (A court has since delayed their effort.)
- After threatening for months to stop funding cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) that help lower deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, the Trump administration stopped CSR payments altogether in October. The CBO found failing to make these payments would increase premiums by 20 percent and add nearly $200 billion to the debt.
- President Trump signed an Executive Order that would roll back key protections and result in garbage insurance, raise premiums, reduce coverage and expose millions of Americans again to discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.
- House and Senate Republicans repealed the individual mandate in their tax bill in order to pay for massive tax breaks to the ultra wealthy and big corporations. CBO predicts millions will lose coverage and premiums will go up double digits.
While the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress want to keep up this war on health care in 2018, the American people are saying “Enough is Enough.” Nearly 9 million people just signed up for coverage through healthcare.gov despite all the sabotage efforts. The Affordable Care Act is more favorable than it has ever been. And millions of people across the country made their voices heard at rallies, town halls and calling their member of Congress to fight these repeal efforts.
The American people are right: enough IS enough.