2024 Trends: Healthcare at Risk – by David Grinberg

Despite its overwhelming success, Obamacare remains the target of relentless partisan attacks. Donald Trump is again vowing to end the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, during a potential second term as president.

“Obamacare is a catastrophe,” Trump recently said at a campaign event in Iowa. The twice impeached former president also wrote on his social media platform: “The cost of Obamacare is out of control, plus, it’s not good Healthcare.”

But terminating Obamacare, assuming Trump wins the presidency again, would decimate healthcare for about 40 million Americans for no good reason. These citizens in need of affordable healthcare had been locked out of the private insurance system for decades based on discriminatory reasons — including socioeconomic status and preexisting conditions, which disproportionately hurt minority groups the most.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a leader in healthcare research:

  • “The largest coverage gains under the A.C.A. have been among Hispanic, black and Asian patients — many of the groups that had the highest uninsured rates before the law.”
  • “At least six in ten Black adults (60%) and Hispanic adults (65%) report difficulty affording health care costs compared to about four in ten White adults (39%).”

Even if you already have adequate private health insurance via your current or former employer (or that of your spouse), you should still care about Obamacare. That’s because disregarding the plight of the most vulnerable among us is selfish, cruel and not the American way.

But don’t tell that to Trump.

Three Reasons

The most likely explanations for Trump’s renewed war on Obamacare are at least threefold:

  1. To discredit Barack Obama’s historic signature policy achievement as America’s first Black President, and/or
  2. To payback the powerful insurance and pharmaceutical industries who bankroll the campaign coffers of Trump and the Republican Party, and/or
  3. See third answer below…

Republicans have done everything possible since its passage in 2010 to kill Obamacare or eliminate significant parts of the most beneficial government health program since Medicare and Medicaid.

Yet Republicans have failed legislatively and in the courts every time they sought to dismantle Obamacare, including during Trump’s presidency. Ironically, however, terminating Obamacare would hurt Trump’s own voter base and Republican constituencies who have benefited from it (many of whom are middle to low-income voters without college degrees).

Nevertheless, in Trump’s would-be authoritarian fantasy only the super-rich, the rich and the upper middle-class would have access to premier health insurance of their choice, while the rest of the population simply withers on the vines of despair.

So, what’s the third reason why Trump and his ilk aspire to end affordable healthcare for the most vulnerable Americans? The baffling third answer: There is no good answer for Trump’s recalcitrance and callousness.

Morally Indefensible

With the above in mind, it’s worth looking beyond partisan politics to take account of the moral implications and practical impact for millions of low-income and indigent Americans if Obamacare is canceled by Trump.

Conservative extremist detractors of Obamacare claim their individual and constitutional rights are being infringed upon at the expense of another government mandate, one for which they don’t want to pay.

But I’ll bet those vacuous voices who continue to castigate Obamacare have always enjoyed generous health benefits. Let’s also remember that medical care for the uninsured, including expensive hospital visits, is reflected in inflated prices and premiums for the rest of the insured population.

We all pay for healthcare, or lack thereof, in one way or another. Prior to Obamacare, steep annual premium hikes were the norm despite a lackluster economy slowly rebounding from The Great Recession.

A Few Pertinent Questions

  • What’s wrong with the wealthiest Americans — the so-called “one percent” or “super-rich” — paying their fair share for the greater good?
  • Why should the richest country in the world allow healthcare for only the richest among us, while simultaneously lining the pockets of the giant insurance and pharmaceutical industries?
  • Do the previously swelling ranks of uninsured and under-insured Americans agree that access to affordable healthcare is a personal infringement our nation can do without?

Trump’s answer to those in need is vindictive: tough luck, too bad, so sad. If you can’t afford health insurance, then Trump disdains your plight.

Yet we should recall what President Biden said about Obamacare on January 10: “More than 20 million people have signed up for plans on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces during the annual open enrollment period, far surpassing last year’s record of more than 16 million enrollments.”

Additionally, The New York Times reported: “The figures were a landmark moment for the 2010 health law, underscoring the significance of enhanced subsidies for Americans and the continuing reach of the marketplaces after years of Republican efforts to whittle them down.”

Yet regardless of who really cares about Obamacare, every American deserves health security as a fundamental freedom inherent in a democratic republic based on the central premise of “We the People”.

Don’t you agree?


Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

David B. Grinberg

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