Democratic Message on Healthcare

March 28th, 2017

Democratic Message on Healthcare



TrumpCare is dead, but the fight is not over.


Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans are actively trying to sabotage our current healthcare system.

-       They are hoping that things will get so bad that Americans will get desperate enough to support a Republican plan (Americans opposed TrumpCare by a 3 to 1 margin).

-       This means making care more expensive and harder to access, which will directly affect Americans’ health. But Trump and Congressional Republicans seem happy to play politics Americans’ health.

-       They have put forth a false story that contradicts the Congressional Budge Office analysis to try to get people to believe that Obamacare is in a “death spiral” of rising costs and coverage losses. They don’t care that experts say it is not true.

-       But Trump and the Republicans are trying to create a “death spiral” by using legislative and regulatory maneuvers. [see detailed list below]


Why do Trump and the Republicans want to sabotage Obamacare so badly?

-       Republicans have always said Obamacare is terrible and wanted it to fail.

-       Trump has said it is terrible and will “explode.” After this humiliating defeat, Trump wants revenge – to be able to say “I told you so.”

-       But sabotaging Obamacare is also part of the larger Republican strategy of sabotaging our government to keep it from helping regular people so they don’t support government programs. That’s what Trump advisor Steve Bannon means when he talks about “dismantling” our government.


Democrats are ready to work with Republicans to improve our healthcare system.

-       They not only have many ideas, they have introduced many bills to make improvements.

-       If Republicans want to talk about how to make coverage more accessible and more affordable, Democrats are ready to discuss that.

-       But TrumpCare would have done the opposite – it would have driven up costs for regular Americans by taking money out of healthcare and giving it to wealthy Americans as a tax cut.



Republicans are finding all kinds of ways to sabotage the Affordable Care Act to raise premiums and cut benefits are very real without actually repealing it:


1.    ► Targeting benefits like maternity and mental health care:


·         Wall Street Journal: “[HHS Secretary Tom Price] has already vowed to water down an ACA requirement that most insurers provide a specific raft of benefits, such as maternity and mental-health care.”


2.    ► Making it harder for Americans to enroll in the program:


·         The Washington Post: [The White House] withdrew TV and online advertising encouraging people to sign up for coverage during the crucial period before the deadline.  NOTE: The Trump administration is currently under investigation by the HHS Inspector General for halting ObamaCare outreach efforts.


·         New York Times: “The Trump administration plans to make it harder for people to sign up for plans midyear.”


3.    ► Messing with Medicare:


·         New York Times: “New powers granted under the Affordable Care Act allow the Department of Health and Human Services to make major changes to the Medicare program, through demonstration projects meant to lower costs and improve patient care…the provision could give [HHS Secretary Tom Price] power to reshape what Medicare pays for and how seniors receive their care.”


4.    ► Undermining ACA marketplaces:


·         Politico: “Trump’s own musings about simply letting Obamacare fail — a concept he first openly raised in January —have sent shock waves through the health care industry. Humana has pulled out of the ACA’s exchanges for next year, and other companies warn that the uncertainty may drive them away.”


·         MarketWatch: “Then there are the ACA subsidies, which make exchange plans affordable to middle and low-income individuals. If HHS declined to appropriate them, it would ‘immediately destroy the exchanges,’ [Spencer Perlman, director of health-care research at Veda Partners] said.


·         Real Clear Politics: “What might Price do? He could weaken enforcement of the individual mandate to purchase insurance, and slash marketing efforts. That would lead to fewer young and healthy people signing up for coverage, leaving behind a costlier pool of customers for insurers to cover.”


NOTE: Republicans are already attacking the individual mandate. From ThinkProgress: “In February, the Trump administration proposed rules that discouraged enrollment and took away an IRS tool for enforcing the individual mandate. Even though the mandate still exists, the IRS announced that it would stop its plans to reject tax returns if people did not say whether they had coverage.”


5.   ► Waiting lists for care:


·         Wall Street Journal: “Dr. Price has told states he would welcome waiver requests that include so-called high-risk pools, which offer subsidized insurance to people with expensive medical conditions. Critics say they leave people in the pool with higher premiums and, in some cases, waiting lists for care.”


6.    ► Wrecking Medicaid:


·         Star-Ledger: One of Price’s options: “Wreck Medicaid. Republicans have long sought to give states more power to force recipients pay premiums and share costs, or to impose work requirements or lifetime limits on benefits. Price wrote governors recently encouraging them to apply for waivers to experiment, a signal that he wants to open the floodgates.”


However – per Forbes, states are moving forward with expansion anyway: “More States To Expand Medicaid Now That Obamacare Remains Law”


7.    ► Holding Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) hostage in order to force further damage to the ACA:


·         Speaker Ryan: “Plus, there are things that Democrats want and need that will vote for, like the children’s health insurance law, which expires at the end of the fiscal year that we will combine in these bills to make them, to pass them.”


·         Congressman Brady: “Plus, we have some important health care programs coming up this year, like the children's health program that has universal support.”


·         Sen. Cotton: “Later this year, we have must-pass healthcare legislation that is coming up, the Children's Health Insurance Program, which is very important to a lot of Democrats.”



What do Americans think of the GOP’s plan to sabotage the ACA?


From the Associated Press this morning:


Clare Schexnyder, 49, is convinced she's alive today because of it. As a small business owner in Decatur, Georgia, she couldn't afford health insurance until the rollout in 2013. She began getting mammograms, and her breast cancer was spotted in time. Her double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery was priced at $250,000, but she paid no more than her $6,200 annual deductible.


"They're setting it up to fail, which is irresponsible and unforgiveable," Schexnyder said.


"It does need its fixes, I totally see that," said Inge Hafkemeyer, 57, who credits the law's subsidies for containing her costs as her home-based event-planning business took off in Mission, Kansas, a Kansas City suburb. "But if your roof leaks, you don't burn down the house to fix it."





PolitiFact Rated Paul Ryan’s Claim That Obamacare Was In A Death Spiral As “False,” Noting Data Actually Showed Enrollment Increasing. “A death spiral is a health industry term for a cycle with three components — shrinking enrollment, healthy people leaving the system and rising premiums. The latest data shows enrollment is increasing slightly and younger (typically healthier) people are signing up at the same rate as last year. And while premiums are increasing, that isn’t affecting the cost to most consumers due to built-in subsidies. So none of the three criteria are met, much less all three. We rate Ryan’s claim False.” [PolitiFact, 1/18/17]


“GOP’s Obamacare Obituary: Premature” [, 3/23/17]

“In theory, a health insurance market goes into a ‘death spiral’ when too many sick people take out insurance, driving up premiums that in turn cause healthier people to drop out. But under Obamacare, [the Congessional Budget Office] said, the subsidies, coupled with the law’s tax penalties for those who don’t obtain coverage, ‘are anticipated to cause sufficient demand for insurance by people with low health care expenditures for the market to be stable.’” 

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