Trump And The DC Republicans Have A New Healthcare Plan
In a recent statement, Donald Trump promised to announce a “phenomenal” new health care plan soon. This new promise is reminiscent of several other promises that Trump has made about health care. In 2016, Trump promised to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with something “terrific.” In that same election cycle, Trump promised to insure “everybody” and “great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost.”
Trump and the Congressional Republicans’ first replacement plan in 2017 broke every health care promise that Trump and the DC Republicans made during the Obama era. The House version of the bill would have taken away insurance from 23 million people and gutted pre-existing condition protections. The bill was so bad, that every House Republican voted to exempt themselves from it. (They only rescinded that amendment once they were caught.)
After the House passed Trump Care, Trump threw a party at the White House to celebrate its passage. Jeff Fortenberry, Don Bacon and Adrian Smith all voted for the bill and celebrated kicking 23 million Americans off insurance.
The Senate version of Trump Care would have taken away insurance from 17 million people and would have weakened pre-existing condition protections. The bill was so bad that McConnell tried to jam it through in the middle of the night when nobody was paying attention. The bill failed by one vote when John McCain opposed it. Both Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer voted for Trump Care.
After Trump Care failed in 2017, the Republicans ceased talking about it. Not one Republican in the 2018 cycle ran on Trump Care. The Republicans would like you to forget about Trump Care. The propaganda of the GOP requires voter amnesia. It is up to us Democrats to refresh memories and constantly remind the voters about this failed attempt to wreck the health care system.
The Republicans continue to believe that too many Americans have insurance and they actually have a new health care plan that is proceeding below the radar screen. They don’t want you to know about it. Let me walk you through it.
The first element of the new Trump health care plan is the lawsuit the Trump Administration filed aimed at throwing out the entire ACA on spurious Constitutional grounds. Pete Ricketts and Doug Peterson have made Nebraska a party to this lawsuit. Fortenberry, Bacon and Smith have voted two times in support of Trump’s lawsuit. If Trump, Ricketts and Peterson were to “win” this case, 20 million Americans would lose insurance coverage and pre-existing condition protections would be eliminated.
The second element of the new Trump/DC Republican health care plan is Trump’s 2020 budget. Just as in the case of health care, this budget breaks just about every populist promise that Trump made during the 2016 campaign. The former TV reality star differentiated himself from his GOP rivals by promising not to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
The 2020 Trump budget contains $1.5 trillion in Medicaid cuts and $845 billion in Medicare cuts. (It also cuts Social Security by $25 billion.) These cuts are made over the next 10 years. The Trump Medicaid proposal also turns this program over to the states. That would mean big cuts to Medicaid in the red states and cuts to Medicaid during recessions — just when Medicaid is most needed. (Most states have balanced budget requirements.)
As you can see, the DC Republicans already have an extreme health care plan. We need to constantly remind the voters about this plan. We need to repeatedly emphasize the huge difference between our party and the GOP on health care. We need to say it again and again and again that the Republicans simply don’t believe in universal coverage and consumer protections. Conservatives don’t believe it is a legitimate function of government to spend money on health care for the sick, the poor and the elderly. They just don’t believe in it.
Going forward in 2020, we Democrats need to emphasize what we all agree on — universal health coverage for the American people. That is both good policy and good politics. We need to focus on what unites us.
We Democrats made this huge contrast on health care our central message in mid-term elections. We won big in 2018. Now let’s do it again in 2020!