As Donald Trump’s presidency draws closer, we’re getting more and more evidence that he’s going to follow through with many of his more terrifying promises. I know many people who’ve been living in fear since November, and I’ve been one of them. I haven’t spoken out much about my fear beyond to friends and family, but when an article about the GOP vote to essentially dismantle the Affordable Care Act early Thursday morning appeared on my Facebook timeline, it gave me the words and gut wrenching motivation to write this.
The Senate voted against amendments that would ensure accessible healthcare for several demographics early Thursday morning in a “vote-a-rama.” Those affected by this voting event include; (1) young adults, as Republicans voted against keeping young adults on parental health insurance until the age of 26; (2) women, who can say goodbye to a guarantee for affordable birth control; and (3) children, as Republicans voted against keeping children on Medicaid, just to name a few. The Republicans voted against amendments to protect approximately 30 million people. This all night vote had Democrats fighting to protect basic insurance rights like making it difficult for insurance companies to drop clients with pre-existing medical conditions. Children on Medicaid are no longer guaranteed coverage.
“We’re going to have a health care that is far less expensive and far better,” Trump stated Wednesday. As we know, Trump deals in vagueness and lacks concrete evidence, and the votes that took place Thursday morning prove that the Senate Republicans are willing to strip rights from millions of Americans without a concrete plan in sight. Trump also said that there would be rapid repeals and replacement of Obamacare, claiming that the new healthcare act would happen within a matter of weeks.
Unfortunately, Obamacare has been wildly successful. 20 million more Americans have healthcare coverage now than in early 2010 before the act passed. Trump is claiming to create something “more terrific” than Obamacare, a challenge that will be extraordinarily difficult. His assertion that Obamacare is expensive and virtually ineffective diminishes the main factor for high health insurance premiums–the high cost of health care in the United States. Trump stated that Obamacare is expensive for members and has high deductibles, but in reality, it provides some of the most affordable healthcare in a country that has the most expensive health care system in the world.
“The Obamacare bridge is collapsing, and we’re sending in a rescue team. . . . Then we’ll build new bridges to better health care, and finally, when these new bridges are finished, we’ll close the old bridge,” GOP Senator Mike Enzi said. The Obamacare bridge is being dismantled bit by bit, backing Republicans into a corner so that leaders are required to draft a new (probably unpopular) health care plan.
Luckily for us, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer promises that the Democrats won’t compromise with Republicans on an Obamacare replacement. So while the majority Republican senate begins to slowly dismantle our access to healthcare, at least some senators are fighting. It’ll be a difficult fight to win, unfortunately, considering the Republican reactions to the amendments Democrats proposed early Thursday evening.
Since the vote-a-rama Thursday, Trump has stated his plan for “insurance for everyone” is complete. This plan includes targeting pharmaceutical companies over drug prices and lower deductibles for health care and Medicaid appears to be safe, but further plans remain unclear. Though in an interview he stated he’s ready to use the force of the Presidency and Twitter if the Republicans in Congress appear to fracture over passing his new health care legislation.
As of January 14, it appears that Trump’s new plan will keep some of the popular features of the Affordable Care Act including the age limit for young adults on parental health care (it’s 26 currently) and people with pre-existing conditions will have health care access. Keep in mind, the promises from president-elect Trump and the Republican party are still vague, all that Trump has really promised is great health care in a simplified form and “much less expensive and much better.” We should be hearing more in the coming weeks since Trump plans to have this legislation passed in a timely manner.
Featured Image: J. Scott Applewhite/AP