The political war over healthcare in the United States has gotten far more brutal; politicians on both sides of the aisle are spreading a loathsome lie about Obamacare that threatens the health, finances, and lives of some Americans. What’s even more disgusting is that President Trump is employing a cynical and vicious strategy in his attempt to force single-payer healthcare upon the American people.
The great Obamacare lie being spread by Democrats, Republicans, and the Big Media is that the only way to provide health insurance to people with preexisting conditions and those over 55 is to pay large amounts of money to health-insurance companies. On Friday the 13th, this falsehood was repeated mindlessly by news outlets like CBS; probably in anticipation of extra advertising dollars from big insurance.
The Medicaid Alternative is better
The truth is that the Affordable Healthcare Act (the Obamacare law) provides another cheaper, better, and more efficient means of covering people big insurance will not. It is to expand Medicaid (the state-run health insurance program for the poor) to cover them. State legislatures have the power to offer Medicaid through Obamacare exchanges right now, and of expanding it to cover all residents.
Medicaid can also be a far better deal than the policies large insurers are selling to the unhealthy and older Americans through Obamacare. In Colorado, Medicaid provides vaccinations and many prescriptions with no copay, and doctor’s visits at small copays of $1 to $3 (for specialists).
Many of the policies sold to lower-income Americans through the Obamacare exchanges are junk health insurance. Some of them come with $6,000 deductibles; that amount is out of reach for a lot of working-class families living in the real America. Others are only available in certain areas such as big cities.
If that was not bad enough some Obamacare exchange policies have very high premiums that are increasing. Rates on Utah’s Obamacare exchange are expected to increase by 39% in 2018, and those in Georgia by up to 50% with subsidies.
Medicaid coverage can be far cheaper because the state and federal governments have the legal authority to negotiate with drug companies and healthcare providers for lower payments. They can also subsidize premiums for citizens with tax money.
Why do Democrats Hate Medicaid Expansion?
Medicaid extension would address the flaws in Obamacare and provide better coverage to Americans. One would expect that Democrats who supposedly support single-payer healthcare insurance would welcome yet they do not.
Despite that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) issued those brain-dead statements short after President Trump announced he was cutting some Obamacare subsidies. They claimed, “millions of hard-working American families will suffer just because President Trump wants them to.”
That is nonsense; as both Pelosi and Schumer undoubtedly know state legislatures, or Congress, can easily cover those Americans by expanding Medicaid or Medicare. All Trump did, was end subsidies that paid for health insurance many Americans cannot afford.
Republican critics of those subsidies like U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are absolutely right. They are nothing but corporate welfare for giant insurance companies like United Health Group (NYSE: UNH) and Anthem (NYSE: ANTM). It is clear whom Pelosi and Schumer really represent and it is not the American people.
What’s behind the Great Obamacare Lie? Big Insurance that’s what
There are several utterly disgusting reasons why Pelosi and Schumer are spreading this pathetic lie. Their motivations might include:
- Expanding Medicaid would cost big insurance companies by eliminating subsidies. That might threaten insurance company contributions to Democrats.
- If average people and employers could buy cheaper and better Medicaid they would and ditch private insurance. That would cut insurers’ profits and threatens campaign contributions.
- Effective Medicaid expansion would increase demands for single-payer healthcare. That threatens big insurance, particularly if it were to convince state legislatures or Congress to expand Medicaid and Medicare to buy votes.
- Medicaid expansion might reduce union membership and union dues which make up an important percentage of Democratic campaign contributions. Unions often use health insurance to force people to join them and pay dues.
- Popular anger at rising insurance rates might help Democrats at the polls. Next year is an election year and Republican majorities in Congress and many state legislatures look vulnerable. Anger at high premiums might increase the anger and help Democrats win.
Pelosi and Schumer are doing the very thing they are accusing Trump of, using the suffering of average Americans for political gain. Disturbingly they are far from alone because many Republicans share their cynical views.
More Moderate Republican Healthcare Hypocrisy
Worst of all is Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a moderate Republican whom big media loves. Back in June, Sandoval vetoed a “Medicaid for All” bill that would have provided low-cost health coverage to all his state’s residents. Yet on 13 October Sandoval made this cynical statement about Trump’s action:
“It’s going to hurt people,” Sandoval told The Nevada Independent. “It’s going to hurt kids. It’s going to hurt families. It’s going to hurt individuals. It’s going to hurt people with mental health issues. It’s going to hurt veterans. It’s going to hurt everybody.”
Had Sandoval simply signed the Medicaid for All bill those people would not be at risk in Nevada. They would have an alternative available in the form of Medicaid. To add insult to injury, Sandoval followed up with a hypocritical lie.
“And so this is something that I’ve been very supportive [of] during my administration in terms of expanding healthcare and making sure that people have access to affordable healthcare and I’m going to continue on that path,” Sandoval said. This is a lie; Sandoval opposes healthcare expansion and affordable healthcare he proved it with the Medicaid veto.
Worst of all is the reason why statehouse politicians oppose Medicaid expansion. To pay for it they would have to raise taxes or cut spending on other services -two politically unpopular moves. That potentially threatens the big campaign contributions that Republicans get from Libertarian extremists like the Koch Brothers who oppose all tax increases.
President Trump’s Cynical Single-Payer Strategy
The most cynical and ruthless moderate Republican of all is President Donald J. Trump (R-New York). The real goal of his cannibalization of Obamacare is to force single-payer down Americans’ throats whether they want it or not.
My guess is that Trump is hoping that cutting off the sick and raising premiums through the roof will force state legislatures and possibly Congress to make Medicaid or Medicare available to all Obamacare exchange participants. That would then be expanded to small business and other employers, families with children, and those over 55.
Remember, Trump is a long time single-payer fan who has often praised the systems in countries like Canada, Australia, and even the United Kingdom. He seems to have adopted the ruthless and cynical strategy Republicans have often accused Democrats of – using Obamacare to force Single Payer down Americans’ throats.
Why Trump Really Wants to Shred Obamacare
Another goal here might to be hurting Congressional Republicans, especially movement conservatives whom the Donald hates for sabotaging his legislative agenda.
He might be hoping that they’ll have to come begging for his help winning reelection next year. Polls indicate that Trump is far more popular than Congressional Republicans among the GOP base.
A real nightmare for Congressional Republicans would be Trump using Twitter and talk radio to bash them, and encourage his fans to vote Democrat next October. Shredding Obamacare might make that cynical stratagem more effective by creating legions of voters angry at premium increases.
It looks as if politicians do not care whether the American people have access to healthcare. Instead, all that matters is winning elections and keeping campaign contributions flowing in. The Obamacare debate proves that new leadership is needed in both state capitols and Washington D.C.