One of the key points debated around the U.S. Presidential Election is healthcare. Democrats state that President Trump will “take away people’s healthcare“, abandoning the American public, especially those with pre-existing conditions, to no healthcare whatsoever. The accompanying key point made by Democrats is that approximately 200,000 Covid-19 deaths occurred “on Trump’s watch” and it is stated that this is due to “Trump’s virus mismanagement“.
These are arguments made by those against Trump, worldwide.
In Joe Biden’s response to President Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, he accused the president of nominating her for the purpose of getting rid of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.
Biden stated: “The American people understand the urgency of this moment. They are already voting in droves, because they know their healthcare hangs in the balance. They understand that if Donald Trump gets his way, they could lose the right to vote, the right to clean air and water, the right to equal pay for equal work, workers could lose their collective bargaining rights, dreamers could be thrown out of the only country they’ve ever known, and women could lose the bedrock rights enshrined in Roe v. Wade for 50 years…”
Putting side the accusations that Republicans want people to not have a right to vote, not have clean air or clean water, not be paid fairly, want people to not have bargaining rights, want a mass exodus of dreamers and stop any and all abortions, we look at the Healthcare arguments.
The Affordable Care Act / Obamacare
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris state that 100 million people have pre-existing conditions that would not be covered should Obamacare be discarded. He said that if the Republicans win their case at the Supreme Court regarding the act, 20 million people would lose their healthcare immediately.
This is not true.
The 100 million figure may have been taken from the estimation of how many people have pre-existing conditions but are currently not on Medicare or Medicaid. This does not have anything to do with Obamacare. It is unclear on what he based the number.
The issue has never been about how many Americans have a pre-existing health condition, but how many adults buying insurance have a condition making them difficult to insure at affordable rates. The ACA set up a subsidized plan for anyone with pre-existing conditions denied insurance in the individual market. By the Obama Administration’s own report, 2.7% of approximately 130 million people estimated to have pre-existing conditions would gain access to insurance though the ACA. And so for most, almost all in fact, it means far higher out-of-pocket costs.
President Trump stated his intention to get rid of Obamacare since before he was elected in 2016.
During the first Presidential debate, Wallace, the debate host, said to Trump, in an undeniably pointed manner “…you have never in these 4 years come up with a plan…” [to replace Obamacare] and asked what the Trump healthcare plan is.
This is also not true.
For the moderator of such an important debate, to state a lie such as this, that this administration has not come up with any plans regarding healthcare, and get away with stating this lie, is concerning to say the least. It means the system is not catching bias and neither representing fair and open debate, nor a just process.
It is a highlight of the reason so many Americans, and people around the globe for that matter, do not know simple facts about Obamacare: the media reporting lies and not being held to account.
President Trump answered that he is cutting drug prices and going with ‘favoured nations’, saying “which no president has had the courage to do because you’re going against big pharma. Drugs prices will be coming down 80 or 90 percent” he continued, “I’ll give you an example, Insulin was destroying families, the cost, I’m getting it so cheap it’s like water. We’re going to allow our governors now to go to other countries to buy drugs because they pay a tiny fraction of what we do…” right then, while crucial information was being given, Wallace interrupted, noticeably dismissing the important answers to the question. So much so that President Trump said questioningly “but this is big stuff”. He was correct.
The drastic reduction of drug prices and healthy competition between health insurance companies will cover anyone who can be and reduce out of pocket costs. Making specialized healthcare more accessible is by far a better option than socialized structures, which have proven time and again to fail. This also does not mean that current Medicare and Medicaid would disappear.
Coronavirus Pandemic and the Effect on Economy
Joe Biden, indeed the entire party, accuse President Trump of having 200,000 people die from the Coronavirus “on his watch”. This is a noteworthy statement given the Democratic Party’s accusation during the beginnings of the virus’ spread, that President Trump is racist as he banned travel from China and Europe.
During the first Presidential debate, Biden stated Coronavirus statistics and said to Trump that “it is what it is because you are who you are. The president has no plan.” He stated that the government should fund all the PPE and help needed to keep businesses open. It happened a few times during the debate that he blamed Trump for people’s deaths. This level of defamation appears to go unnoticed.
President Trump responded stating all they did regarding the virus, from ventilators to drugs to PPE, and said that had they listened to Biden, the country would have been left wide open. He stated “I closed it and you said ‘he’s xenophobic’”.
Biden denied ever saying this, however:
Again we have a lie that anti-Trump movements the world over regurgitate. This lie is a literal accusation that Trump has caused the deaths, and often we have seen tweets and statements by important figures that Trump “has blood on his hands”.
A SARS virus’ mandate is to spread itself. This is unavoidable. Even though any deaths are tragic, 1 death from a novel virus is tragic, the very small death rate is astonishing. The irony that stating that Trump is some sort of a deity who could stop a SARS virus’ spread appears to be lost on all who seem to focus on despising him, and not policy, medical reality, and the true impact of economic downfall.
Joe Biden said, during the healthcare debate, of President Trump: “he is not for any help for people needing healthcare. Because he in fact already has cost 10 million people their healthcare that they had from their employers because of his recession”. During the Coronavirus debate he stated that “millionaires and billionaires like him [referring to President Trump]” benefitted from the pandemic, as they only focused on the market and that Trump didn’t pay all his due taxes. He said “The fact is that… he is going to be the first president of the United States, to leave office having fewer jobs in his administration than when he became president.” He added that “the people who have lost their jobs, are those people who have been on the front lines, those people who have been saving our lives, those people who have been out there dying…”. This is nonsensical and untrue, not to mention convoluted. There was no real answer to solutions to economic problems.
To blame the president for the economy suffering during a pandemic, and to state that he does not care if people die and that those who have lost their jobs are those who have been saving lives and dying, is bizarre to say the least and should not go unanswered. The statements are divisive, demonizing and untrue.
President Trump stated “I had to close the greatest economy in the history of our country, and by the way now it’s being built again…” In response to the tax-evasion accusation, he said “you’re wrong”. This was not enquired further until later during the tax debate, which was more about accusing the president of evading due taxes, than it was about the economy. In response to the statements that he does not care for people’s lives, he attempted to answer but Wallace shut it down by saying ‘you’ve had your 2 minutes’ and so Trump had to force a response. He managed to state once again, that even one life lost is one life too many, and that the people want their states, business and lives carefully opened up while Biden said people want safety.
Obamacare, from an objective, medical, monetary perspective, is not going to give healthcare to the people who have pre-existing conditions as purported by the Democratic Party.
The tragic deaths due to Coronavirus (and, notably, their co-morbidities) has nothing to do with Republican policies nor with Trump’s management of the situation.