THEIR VIEW: Health care sabotage is impacting Americans

Published on Thursday, 10 May 2018 20:00
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It is a tribute to the resilience of the United States’ public and private institutions that, despite President Donald Trump’s incoherent management, the country has, by many measures, continued to improve, notching its lowest unemployment rate since 2000 in the latest federal employment update. But the effects of the president’s underinformed instincts, enabled by the ideologues in his administration, are beginning to show up in some of the numbers, representing real pain that Americans are suffering for Trump’s deficient leadership. The Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit foundation focused on health-care issues, announced last week that the rate of working-age Americans without health insurance in the group’s annual survey rose to 15.5 percent, up about three percentage points since 2016. Things are worse in the 19 holdout states, such as Virginia, that have refused to expand their Medicaid programs.

Obamacare critics regularly describe all problems as the inevitable result of a poorly designed law. But the numbers suggest that the critics’ sabotage efforts are to blame. After impressive declines during President Barack Obama’s second term, the fund found that the uninsured rate increased in both of the years Trump has been in office.

Obamacare was never perfect. But Commonwealth Fund analysts noted that, rather than fixing the law’s problems, Republicans have done concrete things to worsen them.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, admitted last week that repealing the law’s requirement that all Americans carry health coverage means that “you’ll likely have individuals who are younger and healthier not participating in that market, and consequently that drives up the cost for other folks within that market.”

States must do their best to fill gaps. They can establish reinsurance programs, impose individual mandates within their own borders and run open-enrollment advertising campaigns of their own.

The Washington Post

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Thursday, 10 May 2018 20:00. Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2018 20:03.