Following Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s completion of the final report summarizing his Russia investigation, the Trump administration has abruptly turned to attacking the United States’ health care system at an outlandish level. This weekend on ABC’s This Week, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney insisted that if they’re successful in their plans to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as ObamaCare, that no one will lose their health coverage — despite not having any clear, remotely comprehensive plan in place to pick up the slack.
Host Jonathan Karl pointed out the 8.5 million people enrolled in ACA marketplace plans, over 60 million with pre-existing conditions who’ve been provided for by ObamaCare’s provisions protecting them from insurance denial, and even 6 million young Americans who’ve benefited from the expansion of time in which children can be on their parents health care plans.
Karl asked quite simply:
‘Can you guarantee that if you succeed in court that all of those tens of millions of people who have health coverage guaranteed because of ObamaCare will not lose their coverage?’
Mulvaney did not hesitate to pull an overconfident answer out of thin air although again, there is no current Republican health care plan to replace ObamaCare on the table, only a promise for one to emerge “this year.”
The longtime Trump official asserted:
‘Every single plan that the White House has ever put forward since Donald Trump was elected covered pre-existing conditions. Every single plan that Republicans in the House voted in the previous Congress covered pre-existing conditions. Every single plan considered by the Senate covers pre-existing conditions. The debate about pre-existing conditions is over. Both parties support them, and anyone telling you anything different is lying to you for political gain.’
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney says if Obamacare is stuck down in court, he can guarantee that every person who has health coverage because of the Obama-era health law will not lose their coverage https://t.co/vQ7gqleMBp pic.twitter.com/tGDOJtZQbv
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 31, 2019
Reality is far more complicated than Mulvaney lets on.
As a baseline, the Trump administration is right now pushing the line that the entire ACA should be thrown out, arguing to that effect in a court case that nearly two dozen GOP-led states brought against the law following the dissolution of the financial penalty for not having coverage. That disposal would include the pre-existing condition coverage, with no plan currently in place to cover the gap.
Additionally, the main, cornerstone GOP plan that did emerge back in 2017 did not protect people with pre-existing conditions as carefully as Mulvaney might have us believe. The Kaiser Family Foundation concluded that thanks to a provision that would have allowed insurers to single out those with coverage gaps for different premiums, millions of people with pre-existing conditions could have faced higher health coverage costs, which could box them out of the market altogether.
An August 2018 plan from Republican Senators also provided an out for insurance companies worried about people with pre-existing conditions, Politifact explains. Under the legislation, companies would be able to deny a condition coverage if they do “not have the capacity to deliver services adequately,” which opens up the opportunity for more junk plans.
Mulvaney — and Trump, with his repeated recent claims that the GOP would be known as the party of good health care — have ignored all of these issues in their remarks.
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