It’s time to Break It Down!
Just when Donald Trump appeared to be in a position to gloat (and he did) about Attorney General Barr’s determination that findings of the Mueller Report revealed no collusion, Mr. Trump had his Justice Department advise a federal appeals court of his new position that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) should be invalidated, in its entirety. At times in the past, the administration has argued that the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be struck down, but that remaining elements of the law, including the expansion of Medicaid, should survive.
If the Appeals Court accepts the Trump administration’s new arguments, it is likely millions of people will lose health insurance, including those who gained coverage through the expansion of Medicaid and those who have private coverage subsidized by the federal government. As Abbe Gluck, a Yale law professor, framed it, “The Justice Department is no longer asking for partial invalidation of the Affordable Care Act, but says the whole law should be struck down. Not just some of the insurance provisions, but all of it, including the Medicaid expansion and hundreds of other reforms. That’s a total bombshell, which could have dire consequences on millions of people.”
Such action also makes it inexorable that a highly vigorous political furor will ensue as both Parties square off for the impending 2020 elections. Democrats have contended for some time that Trump still wants to abolish the law. At the very least, this move stands as Exhibit A.
The retail politics of this new posture will play out over time, most likely beginning with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Given the pitched fight most observers anticipate, there is a good chance the ultimate decision will wind up in the Supreme Court. President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law nine years ago. Since then it has become insinuated into our nation’s health care system. Because of it, Medicare pays doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers in different ways than it did prior to the inception of the law. It has unleashed a plethora of innovations in health care delivery. In response, the health insurance industry has invented a new business model selling coverage to all comers, regardless of pre-existing conditions.
Trump’s new position has engendered a bevy of harsh criticism by both the insurance industry and by consumer advocates, including the following:
- Matt Eyles, president and chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said, “The government’s position puts coverage at risk for more than 100 million Americans.”
- Leslie Dach, chairman of Protect Our Care, a consumer advocacy group, added, “In November, voters overwhelmingly rejected President Trump’s health care repeal and sabotage agenda. But he remains dead set on accomplishing through the courts what he and his allies in Congress could not do legislatively: fully repeal the law, devastate American health care and leave millions of Americans at risk.”
- Xavier Becerra, attorney general of California, asserted Monday while filing a brief urging the appeals court to uphold the law, “The Texas lawsuit (the ruling upon which the administration’s new posture is predicated) is as dangerous as it is reckless.”
On one hand, reneging on a promise to retain the pre-existing conditions provision of the law, made by Trump, and the GOP at-large, may seem odd. Not really, on Trump’s part. When you consider Trump’s Number 1 trigger, Barack Obama, it all falls into place. It has always been clear there is nothing along the political spectrum that drives Trump more than his need to diminish and, if he has his way, abolish Obama’s legacy. Destroying the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature program, is Job 1. Think back to Senator McCain’s infamous “thumbs down,” torpedoing Trump and the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump is still livid about that, and has recently trashed McCain, months after the Senator’s death due to brain cancer, because of the snub.
Yes, the Affordable Care Act is on the clock. But that’s not all. Trump Takes Aim At Obamacare…And At Obama’s Legacy!
I’m done; holla back!
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