Since the beginning of Donald Trump’s election campaign, repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, has been one of his main objectives. Therefore, in light of Trump’s official selection as the 45th president of the United States, it doesn’t come as a surprise that a new health care policy has been presented to take ACA’s place. However, the catch is that with this newly proposed bill, countless Americans, especially those with preexisting conditions, are at risk of losing health care. This is essentially assigning a death sentence to those who cannot afford health care, and in no way, shape or form is that acceptable.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a Trump-endorsed health care plan, would cut the Medicaid program for the poor, eliminate fines for people who don’t buy insurance and provide generally skimpier subsidies. Moreover, the newly drafted GOP health care bill would allow states to escape a requirement under Obama’s 2010 law that demand insurers to charge healthy and seriously ill customers the same rates.
Prior to Obama’s ACA, people with preexisting conditions (medical conditions that started before a person’s health insurance went into effect) could be denied the coverage needed to tend to their health conditions. But after the ACA was put into effect, health insurers could no longer charge more, nor deny coverage for those with costly preexisting health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or cancer. Yet, horrifically, under the newly Republican-drafted health bill, insurance companies are not only permitted to charge higher premium rates for citizens with preexisting health conditions, but also allowed to refuse coverage entirely for such citizens.
Right before our eyes, under the influence of Trump, health care is now being commodified, and moreover being turned into something that is only accessible to the “have’s,” essentially denying the basic right of life to the “have-not’s.” This poses a major ethical dilemma. Since when did healthcare become a privilege?
From an economic standpoint, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi explained that the new Trump-endorsed bill “represents the biggest shift of money to the wealthiest people in our country, the top 1 percent, at the cost of working families.” Our wealth gap is large enough as it is in the U.S., with the top 1 percent making an average of 1.3 million dollars annually, and contrastingly, the bottom 50 percent making a mere average of $16,000 a year. It is concerning that our President is not assuaging such problems, but rather exacerbating them. For instance, according to ABC News, a 64-year-old man making $26,000 a year could see net out of pocket costs increase from $1,700 a year under the current law, to a drastic $14,600 under the new GOP healthcare plan.
When AHCA was passed by the House of Representatives on May 3, many Americans took to Twitter and utilized the hashtag #IAmAPreExisitingCondition, to explain their fears of potentially losing health coverage. One Twitter user wrote, “I survived breast cancer once, currently fighting it again at 36, I fear 4 my future, but mostly 4 others w/worse.” With around an estimate of 20 million people being covered under all provisions of Obamacare, one can anticipate that under Trump’s new expensive policy, many of those 20 million citizens will be subject to the potential risk of losing health care, leaving a detrimental impact on the lives of citizens throughout the United States.
Health care is not a business deal, and it’s infuriating to know that our president is treating it as such at the expense of American lives. We as a nation should be progressing to ensure health coverage for all, not taking steps backward by denying human rights to the less fortunate. So, while Trump may be focusing on repealing Obamacare, it is obvious that the replacement he has proposed lacks in more ways than one, and therefore, before criticizing Obamacare, he should tend to the holes in his own proposed health care plan.