Yesterday, the White House confirmed that it would end a key subsidy brought under Obamacare that helped seven million low-to-middle-income families pay for health care. The White House party line is that this will make it easier for lower income families to access insurance. That it is a move toward helping people. That it will not hurt America.
And it’s all a lie. This Executive Order— a unilateral move by Trump after his disastrous attempts to rollback Obamacare— is a simple move of spite. He’s will do it come hell or high water. He couldn’t do it through Congress, so he will work towards dismantling Obamacare however he can.
“It is a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a joint statement. “Make no mistake about it, Trump will try to blame the Affordable Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it.”
This is not flexibility. This is not about access. This is taking away subsidies for low-income and middle-income Americans. It targets individuals making less than $30,000 and families making less than $61,000. And it encourages skimpier, less effective plans for some of the most vulnerable Americans. Some young, healthier people might have access to cheaper— but less comprehensive— plans, but signs point to premiums rising for those who are actually sick. For those who need help.
Cutting health care subsidies will mean more uninsured in my district. @potus promised more access, affordable coverage. This does opposite.
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) October 13, 2017
“It has been widely reported that some of his advisers tried to talk him out of making this move on the grounds that it would be highly damaging,” The New Yorker reported. “But Trump was so infuriated by Congress’s failure to pass a bill repealing Obamacare, or large parts of it, that he chose to go ahead anyway. Repeatedly frustrated in the legislative arena, he settled on this spiteful act of diktat.”
It’s unclear yet how insurance companies will respond, especially as they have already rolled out their 2018 plans. But it’s safe to say that this move will not be taken lying down. “The action, however, is likely to spur many lawsuits,” CNN reports. “New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is part of a coalition defending the subsidies, swiftly announced that group would take action against Trump.” And there will be others. It’s too big of a move, too nonsensical of a move to accept without fighting back.
Trump is throwing his toys out of the pram— but healthcare is too important the subject of a tantrum. Especially when we are talking about low-income families. Yes, Obamacare is not perfect. The first healthcare coverage of that size was never going to be. But dismantling it out of spite is not the answer.