Letters to the Editor

Obamacare or Trumpcare?

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Unless you’ve been on another planet, you know a battle is being waged on what America’s health care should look like: Who should be guaranteed coverage? What at a bare minimum should be covered? Should sex, age, income or pre-existing conditions determine a person’s cost or coverage? Here are some numbers to highlight the gap between Obamacare and its proposed replacement Trumpcare.

The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) released a comparison between Obamacare and the senate version of Trumpcare. The CBO finds 22 million people who currently have health care will lose it by 2026, 15 million of those are on Medicaid. Many who keep coverage will pay more for less coverage. Compare that with what the Department of Health and Human Services said in January, if Obamacare was completely repealed and not replaced 30 million people would lose coverage. Simply put, Trumpcare will cover at best only 8 million more people than no plan at all.

At times the Trump administration has left the impression that the CBO is a partisan department with a political ax to grind. The person at the CBO charged with preparing this report is a Republican appointee who is on record as being against Obamacare, but Trumpcare’s numbers just don’t add up.

Another troubling difference is how the poor are covered. Obamacare expanded Medicaid, in the stares that accepted it, which equalized coverage in all 50 states. Trumpcare requires each state to apply for block grants, giving the Trump administration the power to decide how much each state gets to provide care to its people. Trumpcare allows waivers to states to drop what’s covered or to charge more to pregnant women or people with pre-existing conditions.

The most insidious part of Trumpcare is how it will pit one state against another for necessary federal dollars. States with an aging population will be burdened more. Poorer states will be more beholden to the administration — all the while Trump’s hands are clean. All he has to do is tweet which states are being “mean” for waiving coverage they can no longer afford. He can politically punish any state including those that took the Medicaid expansion or any other slight he perceives. My only wish is that Trumpcare would provide as much medical protection to the American people as it will political protection to Donald Trump.

Wendy LaFauce

Belvidere