BILL PRESS: Trumpcare far worse than Obamacare

Carlos Barria—Reuters
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price gestures at legislation while addressing the daily press briefing as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer looks on at the White House on March 7

Here’s all you need to know about the plan put forward by House Republicans to replace the Affordable Care Act: It will deny millions of Americans the health care coverage they now enjoy for the first time under Obamacare. And those still in the system will be forced to pay more money for lousier health plans. As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) succinctly puts it: “You’ll pay more for less.”First, let’s be honest. Obamacare’s far from perfect. Medicare-for-all, or “single payer,” is the best and most cost-effective way to achieve the goal of universal health care, and the Affordable Care Act falls far short of that. It forces everybody to buy health coverage from a private insurance company. It allows Big Pharma to continue to charge exorbitant prices for prescription drugs. And, according to the Congressional Budget Office, it will still leave 30 million non-elderly Americans with no health insurance in 2022.And yet Obamacare, or ACA, is working, and helping millions. Trump and Ryan are not telling the truth when they claim that Obamacare’s in some kind of “death spiral.” Imperfect as it is, the ACA still gets us closer to universal coverage than we’ve ever been. An additional 10 million Americans now have health coverage for the first time under the expansion of Medicaid in 31 states and the District of Columbia — millions of whom would no longer be covered under Trumpcare.Yes, there are a few good provisions in the GOP plan. It retains the most popular features of Obamacare: allowing young people to stay on their parents’ plan until they’re 26; protecting persons with pre-existing conditions; prohibiting insurance companies from placing a cap on protection for serious illness.But here’s what’s bad about it. It would repeal expanded Medicaid, leaving millions of poorer Americans with no health care coverage and no way to pay for it. It would get rid of subsidies, which 87 percent of people who signed up for Obamacare in 2015 took advantage of, and replace them with refundable tax credits — which poor families don’t need because they don’t make enough money to pay taxes in the first place. And, by repealing taxes on drug companies, insurance companies, medical device manufacturers, and wealthy Americans that now pay for Obamacare, it will add some $460 billion annually to the national debt.Again, bottom line: millions of Americans will lose their health insurance and Medicaid will be drastically cut. Which is why Trumpcare’s already strongly opposed by every leading medical professional organization: the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, the Children’s Hospital Association, and the American Nurses Association.Unlike Paul Ryan or Donald Trump, when it comes to health care, they know what they’re talking about. They know millions of Americans will be left without any health protection. They know this is bad for America.As for Trump’s oft-repeated promise that he would never support any health care plan that did not guarantee better coverage than Obamacare to every single American at a lower cost? Fuhgeddaboudit! He doesn’t know what’s in the House plan and he doesn’t care. Donald Trump’s only interested in one thing: his phony scorecard, where he can check off one more pseudo-accomplishment he can brag about and lie about.In fact, while writing this column, I received Trump’s latest tweet: “Despite what you hear in the press, healthcare is coming along great. We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture.” Believe that, and I have a great new health care plan to sell you.Bill Press is host of a nationally-syndicated radio show, CNN political analyst, and author.