Saturday, October 14, 2017

Trump’s war on health care is “purposeful, malicious and amoral”

Here are two commentaries on Trump’s assault on the Affordable Care Act.

Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowBlog) reports that Trump goes to war against his own country’s health care system.

[Trump tweeted:] “The Democrats [sic] ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!”

In other words, the president, who is effectively going to war against his own country’s health care system, is moving forward with a plan that’s likely to hurt many Americans in order to gain some kind of political leverage.

Cost-sharing reductions may seem like a fairly obscure element in the larger debate, but they’re a key component of the Affordable Care Act, which helps cover middle-class consumers’ out-of-pocket costs. The president, motivated by spite, has turned them into a political weapon.

The Congressional Budget Office has already provided a detailed analysis of what would happen if Trump pulled the trigger on such a gambit: scrapped CSRs would lead to a 20% increase in consumer premiums by next year and a 25% increase by the end of the decade. The move is projected to force some insurers from the system altogether, leaving some Americans unable to buy coverage through an exchange marketplace.

What’s more, the move is projected to push the U.S. budget deficit higher – subsidies will have to go up to meet the higher premiums – which means higher costs for everyone, even as the system covers fewer people. In other words, Trump has identified a change that will spend more to do less.

The CBO made all of this clear two months ago. It’s not as if the president can say he wasn’t warned about the adverse consequences of this ridiculous gambit. In fact, it was around this time that Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the Senate committee that oversees health care policy, added that if the CSR payments end, “Americans will be hurt.”

Trump is doing it anyway, indifferent to the real-world consequences. The president is making a conscious decision to undermine his own country’s health care system on purpose.

All of this, of course, comes on top of the series of related steps the Republican has already taken to make it more difficult for Americans – which is to say, his ostensible constituents – to get the coverage and health security they’re entitled to under the law.

If Trump thinks this will force Democrats to accept a GOP repeal plan, he’s mistaken. If Trump thinks he can blame “Obamacare” for the damage he’s doing to the system, he’s misguided – because he’s taking ownership of American health care right now, forcing consumers to pay more while he sabotages the system as part of a bizarre political vendetta.

The president is taking a sledgehammer to our health care system, and he’s making no effort to hide his actions. As conditions deteriorate, there will be no one else to blame.

But why would he do that?

AZBlueMeanie (Blog for Arizona) observes, I think quite accurately, that President Trump sabotages ‘Obamacare,’ will blow up health care markets out of spite.

President Donald Trump, who promised to repeal and replace “Obamacare” on day one in office — “it will be easy” — suffered humiliating deafeats after several failed attempts by Congress. For a man fixated on erasing any legacy of Barack Obama out of jealousy and spite, he has been stewing about ways he can sabotage “Obamacare,” and with it the health care of millions of Americans, outside of congressional action. It is purposeful, malicious and amoral.

As the Post’s Greg Sargent notes, As Trump implodes, he threatens to hurt millions — out of pure rage and spite. This is a mentally and emotionally unstable man who is unraveling. See, Trump aides scramble to manage the president’s outbursts; “I Hate Everyone in the White House!”: Trump Seethes as Advisers Fear the President Is “Unraveling”. It’s time for Congress to act to stop Trump before he can harm any more Americans out of pure rage and spite.

Conservative commenter “Steve”, one not known for agreeing with AZ BlueMeanie on much if anything, said this:

“It is purposeful, malicious and amoral.”

I hate to say it, but I think you are correct in this instance. I firmly believe that if you can’t get Congress to act on healthcare, then Executive Orders are NOT the way to go to change things. Healthcare is too important and too complex to be handled in such a cavalier fashion.

Trump’s actions will not bring Democrats to the table. On top of that, he might be causing conservatives to, finally, admit to Trump’s tantrums and realize what an infantile monster resides in the White House. (I know, I know. One can hope.)

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