With the Stroke of a Pen,
Trump Wipes Out Medical Care for Millions

October 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

After months of contention, the Trump/Pence regime’s congressional allies were unable to pass one of their bills aimed at destroying the Affordable Care Act—"Obamacare.” Trump has now stepped forward to use his executive orders to accomplish the same goal. In just a matter of hours on Thursday, October 12, Trump moved in two significant ways toward wiping out medical coverage for millions in this country forced to live near the bottom of society.

Trump signed an executive order stopping the billions of dollars in subsidies that have gone to insurance companies under Obamacare to provide lower premium and co-payment costs for the working poor who buy their insurance through the health insurance exchanges. Trump’s cold-blooded move will drive up premium and co-payment costs, potentially sky high—making health insurance unaffordable again for those who had been able for the first time to have any kind of health coverage. Trump’s move is also expected to drive more and more insurance companies out of the insurance exchanges altogether, further making it impossible for people who aren’t eligible for Medicaid or able to afford their own insurance to have medical coverage.  

Only hours earlier, Trump had signed another executive order, this one allowing insurance companies to offer cut-rate coverage that leaves out essential elements of health care that had previously been required, like maternity care, mental health care, and prescription drugs.

A week earlier, on October 6, Trump made it possible for employers to use religious or “moral” justifications to avoid the requirement to provide free birth control coverage in their employee health plans. This day—when Trump undermined the guarantee of birth control coverage for 55 million women—was declared by his fascist cohort, House Speaker Paul Ryan, as “a landmark day for religious liberty.”

This regime has been moving since day one to find every possible way to wipe out Obamacare. This includes using the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), supposedly responsible for implementing this medical care program, to go all out to destroy it. They have eliminated one program after another intended to let people know even how to sign up. They’ve cut 40% of the funding to groups set up to help people enroll. And they’ve cut funding for advertising and enrollment by 90%.

At the same time, HHS has used that money to fund publicity drives aimed at propagating the Trump/Pence claims about how bad Obamacare is. Since July people have been able to watch 23 different videos on You Tube, paid for by HHS, that attack Obamacare. And HHS has posted infographics that others can tweet attacking Obamacare.

Trump’s most recent executive orders, the marshaling of HHS, and the battles by the fascist-led Congress and the White House point to how much this fascist regime has invested in destroying Obamacare and the big stakes they see in doing this. While Obamacare did make medical coverage available to millions for the first time, tens of millions were still left out—including the 11 million or more undocumented immigrants brutally exploited in this society. But for the Trump/Pence regime and ruling class forces they represent, even the concessions included in Obamacare are completely unacceptable.

The regime’s white-supremacist, male-supremacist, America First ideology has as a cornerstone nakedly embracing the dictates of raw, cold-blooded capitalist-imperialist commodity relations: “those who can’t afford it, shouldn’t have it.” They are moving to put an end to any idea that those people—meaning especially Black, Brown and other oppressed people and immigrants—who can’t afford basic health care should receive any help. This is what “Make America Great Again” looks like. Trump, Pence, and their whole regime will stop at nothing to achieve it. Every day they are in power they are marching—not in a straight line, but relentlessly—toward the nightmarish vision of America First, with god on its side.


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