Want to save Obamacare? Call it Trumpcare


Gage Skidmore

Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, has been widelty criticized for his odd remarks.

Rel Konot, Copy Editor

On March 7, two stacks of paper sat next to each other beside the podium where GOP leaders would reveal their long-anticipated healthcare plan.

On the left was the American Health Care Act (quickly nicknamed “Trumpcare”), shorter in comparison to the tower that was the Affordable Care Act.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer spoke at the press conference, introducing the American Health Care Act with enthusiasm.

“One of the things that’s important, Sarah, is, for all of the people who have concerns about this, especially on the right,” Spicer said, answering a reporter. “Look at the size! This is the Democrats’-”

He leaned over to lay a hand on the larger pile, then moved it to the smaller pile. “-this is us. There is – I mean – you cannot get any clearer, in terms of ‘this is government, this is not.’”

The response to the press conference was quick to mock the silliness of the gesture, as well as Spicer’s enthusiastic and loose verbal explanation. Comedy Central’s The Daily Show host Trevor Noah laughed with the crowd when showing the clip.

“I’m sorry, it feels like Spicer is just parodying himself now,” Noah said, referencing other recent comedic jabs at Spicer’s press conferences, most famously on Saturday Night Live.

“He’s like, ‘I know what you’re gonna do, Melissa McCarthy! No! No! If anyone’s gonna make fun of the Spice-man, it’s gonna be me!’”

Trumpcare was approved by a key committee in the House of Representatives on March 2, and will be a replacement of the highly disputed Affordable Care Act, nicknamed Obamacare, which was signed into law back in 2010.

As the bill clears a path toward the House of Representatives, many are questioning whether it has a chance following severe backlash from both Republicans and Democrats. Beyond Congress, multiple major organizations representing healthcare professionals across the country spoke out again the act.

“Right now I feel confident saying there aren’t 218 votes for this,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said, in regard to the number of votes needed in the House of Representatives in order for the American Health Care Act to be passed.

Of the many changes from the Affordable Care Act, one is to eliminate requirements that all Americans either obtain coverage or pay penalties. Also, businesses with over 50 employees would no longer have to provide insurance.

The Washington Post reported, “The American Health Care Act would replace income-based subsidies with refundable tax credits based on age and income, charge individuals a 30 percent surcharge if they buy a plan after allowing their coverage to lapse and phase out the law’s more generous Medicaid funding over time.”

Conclusively, the largely income-based American Health Care Act would put people with lower incomes and older ages at an alarming disadvantage for receiving coverage. S&P Global predicts that the act will lead to 2 to 4 million people losing their healthcare out of the 16 million Americans who bought their own healthcare.

The Washington Post also reported, “Republicans’ tax credits would reach people at higher incomes than the ACA subsidies, available to people with incomes of up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level — about $47,000 for an individual or $97,000 for a family of four. The proposed credits would be available to individuals with incomes of up to $75,000 and families up to $150,000, with lesser amounts of help available for incomes above those levels.”

Interestingly, budget cuts from Medicare remained in place: During the Obama administration, Republicans popularized the fact that the ACA had cut $500 billion from Medicare over the course of a decade.

One of the supposed primary motivators for creating an Obamacare repeal was the notion that Medicare would be rescued.

A Harvard study published in The American Journal of Public Health estimated that in 2005, before the infamous Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” went into effect across the country, close to 45,000 people between the ages of 18 and 64 died due to lack of healthcare.

The study was criticised for its small pool of participants and it’s use of older data. But more like it exist: In 2002 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that 18,000 died each year due to lack of health insurance. If updated using the data pulled from the Harvard study, that would be 26,000 a year on average by 2005.

Another study by consumer advocacy group Families USA averaged over 26,000 deaths. The facts remain unclear, but one truth remains clear; too many Americans are dying from lack of access to resources that should be available to them.

These are people who miss their screenings, their check-ups, delay visits to the doctor’s when things get bad because they have to pay for their children’s lunches and think the cough isn’t as bad as it seems.

These are disabled individuals whose bodies degrade without the aid of medication, physical therapy, and life-saving surgeries.

Lead author of the Harvard report, Andrew Wilper, M.D., started teaching at the University of Washington School of Medicine in 2009. He said, regarding those without insurance: “The uninsured have a higher risk of death when compared to the privately insured, even after taking into account socioeconomics, health behaviors, and baseline health.”

It’s not as if we lack the life-saving resources needed to protect these people, either. Wilper states, “We doctors have many new ways to prevent deaths from hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease — but only if patients can get into our offices and afford their medications.”

As American citizens look to the future in anxiety over whether they’ll continue to have true access to their healthcare, we are left to put our trust into The House of Representatives on the next vote.