President Donald Trump signed an executive order that lays out an “America First Health Care Plan” that would give Americans “more choice” for health care options, “lower costs for families and seniors,” and “better care” for American patients.
The executive order, which contains a provision to protect patients with pre-existing conditions, was signed in lieu of congressional action because Congress can’t agree on the specifics of replacing Obamacare.
“Today I will lay out my vision for a health care system that puts patients first, families first and perhaps most importantly for all of us, America first,” the president said in North Carolina. “Under the America First health care plan, we will ensure the highest standard of care anywhere in the world, cutting-edge treatment, state-of-the art medicine, groundbreaking cures and true health security for you and your loved ones. And we will do it rapidly and it’s in very good order and some of it has already been implemented.”
Trump promised to always protect patients with pre-existing conditions despite his administration’s efforts to dismantle Obamacare and protections for pre-existing conditions along with it in court. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Obamacare after the election.
The Trump Congress managed to get rid of enforcement penalties for not having insurance but much of the original Obamacare law remains intact. Trump is hoping that by getting rid of Obamacare entirely it will spur Congress to act.
Meanwhile, there’s an election on and Trump sought to contrast his vision with that of Joe Biden.
“The fact that Joe Biden even has a healthcare proposal is proof that Obamacare was a colossal failure from the beginning. Premiums went through the roof, choices dwindled, and people suffered under the twin lies that they could keep their doctors and their existing healthcare plans,” said Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 communications director. “Biden’s new proposal would lead to a government takeover of the entire healthcare system and would end with the elimination of employer-provided health insurance for 180 million Americans.”
During the campaign, Biden resisted the idea of a national health care plan, despite every other Democratic candidate embracing the “Medicare for all” proposal by Senator Bernie Sanders. But in the end, he came around to the notion of socialized medicine, although his vision has a smaller price tag than the $30 trillion over 10 years proposed by the Sanders plan.
The plan to save the pre-existing protections hasn’t been fleshed out, leading one Obamacare supporter to call it a “mirage.”
“President Trump here has promised to protect people with pre-existing conditions but doesn’t have a plan to execute. This is something of a mirage,” [Larry Levitt, executive vice president of Kaiser Family Foundation,] told CBS News. “Much of the president’s record has been to weaken protections, including his effort to try to get ACA overturned. I do think the fact that the president is saying people with pre-existing conditions should be protected shows how far this debate has shifted since the Affordable Care Act has passed.”
Obamacare managed to spread its tentacles throughout the entire American health care system. Pulling those tentacles off was always going to be hard. Once you give the taxpayer a benefit like an insurance subsidy, any politician who tries to take it from them is asking for trouble. There are thousands of regulations, a dozen boards and commissions — trillions of dollars spent to build up the Obamacare system.
Getting rid of it may cost more than it’s worth.