A day after President Trump's Justice Department went to court to scuttle the entire Affordable Care Act, House Democrats announced a new plan to improve healthcare by strengthening the ACA.
The announcement from the Justice Department coincidentally followed Attorney General William P. Barr's four-page memo to Congress saying the Mueller investigation did not show Trump or his presidential campaign colluded with the Russians to rig the 2016 presidential election, but also did not exonerate Trump on possible obstruction of justice charges.
Does the timing indicate that Trump now feels emboldened, vindicated, and that his penchant for retribution means that any and all programs supported by Democrats are fair game regardless of how many people would be hurt? You decide.
The Democratic announced plan came after the Justice Department asked an appeals court to declare it unconstitutional, siding with a lower court ruling issued in December. The DOJ initially said only the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be struck down.
So now, if the Trump administration has its way, even those protections would be lost. Too bad, dad, if your daughter had leukemia before you got your coverage. You're on your own.
That's despite Trump's claim Tuesday that the Republican party would be known as the party of healthcare.
"“The Justice Department and the Trump administration decided not only to destroy protections for pre-existing conditions, but to tear down every last benefit and protection the ACA has,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference Tuesday. “The GOP will never stop trying to destroy health care.”
Ironically, the announcement from the DOJ also followed a report by the Department of Health and Human Services saying that 11.4 million people selected a health plan through the ACA exchanges during the most recent open-enrollment period for coverage in 2019—the first year in which there is no penalty for not buying health insurance.
Across all states, enrollment slid by about 300,000 people, or 2.6 percent, from 2018. That decrease was driven by lower enrollment in the 39 states that use HeathCare.gov, the federally operated marketplace. Enrollment in the 12 states running their own exchanges ticked up by almost 1 percent.
The Democrats' bill would:
Expand ObamaCare’s tax credits that help people pay for coverage to more middle-income families and individuals;
Increase the size of those tax credits;
Reduce premiums by helping insurance companies pay the claims of high-cost patients;
Prevent insurance companies from selling non-ObamaCare "junk plans" expanded by the Trump administration that are cheaper but cover fewer benefits.
Block the administration from approving state requests to water down ObamaCare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions and its 10 requirements for what insurance companies must cover, like maternity care and substance abuse treatment.
The Democratic legislation is expected to be brought to a vote in the House of Representatives later this year and assuredly will be a major component of the 2020 Congressional and Presidential campaigns.