My neighbor got a letter from his insurance company this week telling him that his premium would triple and his deductible would double. He would now be paying $1500 a month for health insurance. He’s not alone. A lot of people got these notices. They can all thank Donald Trump, Congress and the Republicans in the North Carolina legislature.
Donald Trump’s attempts to sabotage Obamacare are working. Since he became president, he’s created uncertainty in the market by ending subsidies to cover poor people, cutting the enrollment period in half and halting public relations programs to educate people about the enrollment period. The measures will reduce the number of healthy people who sign up, costing insurance companies more money and causing premiums to rise. North Carolina stands to lose more than $300 million in federal money.
The GOP Congress, for their part, has done nothing to stabilize the program. Instead, they’ve promised to repeal and replace Obamacare but have failed miserably. Every plan they’ve put forth would kick millions of people off insurance while raising premiums and providing inferior coverage. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) came up with a bipartisan bill to restore the subsidies that Trump killed but the bill will probably never reach the floor and would like either die in the House or get vetoed by Trump. The GOP in Washington can’t see past their political rhetoric to actually help American families struggling with healthcare.
The North Carolina legislature has done all it can to thwart the success of the Affordable Care Act while costing North Carolinians more for their insurance. They refused to expand Medicaid, denying coverage to about 500,000 people and increasing the number of less healthy people in the individual marketplace. Their actions have reduced competition, leaving most the state with only one insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and BCBS said they might pull out next year if the subsidies aren’t restored.
Donald Trump and the GOP lack the political will to actually end the Affordable Care Act and lack the political imagination to come up with a plan that would provide similar coverage while reducing healthcare costs. Instead, they’ve decided to sabotage the program and hope that the Democrats get the blame. It’s the epitome of putting politics before people. They’re less concerned with the health and welfare of the American people than they are with ending a government program for ideological reasons.
It’s also bad politics. Republicans had seven years to come up with an alternative to the Affordable Care Act and clearly haven’t done so. They now control all branches of government. Voters overwhelming want Congress to make Obamacare work and they will hold the party in power accountable. Letters like the one my neighbor got will be the most effective negative direct mail pieces dropped during the 2018 election cycle.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >