Donald Trump, in addition to the overwhelming majority of his Republican colleagues, have campaigned for years on little more than the promise to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. Though this president has enjoyed his first year in office with all possible decks stacked in his favor, he has been unable to get the legislative action he so desires with respect to healthcare.
This has led to Trump’s blaming of: Democrats (all), Hillary Clinton, and GOP dissenters. Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME) found themselves the subject of Trump’s impotent twitter rage on multiple occasions. President Trump cast a wide enough hate net to snare John McCain (R-AZ) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on a few occasions.
But this president has made it clear that in absence of passing comprehensive legislation that might cover the “replace” aspect, he is content to sabotage the Affordable Care Act via death by a thousand cuts. He has repeatedly insisted that Obamacare is “imploding” — it isn’t.
This undermines consumer confidence, which then creates market uncertainty, which then makes the insurance companies themselves a bit twitchy.
Trump also gutted the advertising budget in order to keep the open enrollment period all but a secret and removed grants that had been awarded to organizations who help Americans navigate the marketplace in order to find the best plan for themselves and their families.
The latest Republican plan to cripple Obamacare is to remove the individual mandate that everyone must carry insurance unless otherwise exempt due to, say, financial hardship while living in a state that did not expand Medicaid. The LA Times recently analyzed the Republican plan to remove the individual mandate component of Obamacare. While this will affect the entire nation, the strongest ramifications will be felt in the largely Trump-voting rural areas. Per the LA Times data analysis:
“Eighty-six percent of these 454 at-risk counties have fewer than 50,000 residents, census data show. Healthcare costs are often higher in rural areas, as there are fewer medical providers and populations tend to be older and sicker.
These counties also overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump last year, with 9 out of 10 backing the Republican presidential ticket, according to election data.”
The Congressional Budget Office has is largely responsible for having kept the repeal-and-replace plans at bay this year. There hasn’t been an official report on the net result of losing the individual mandate, but their prior reports have made clear that if the preexisting condition protection remains but the mandate goes, folks will wait until they are sick or injured to seek treatment which would cause premiums to skyrocket.
This is just another example of Trump trying to give his voters what they think they want, even though it would ultimately screw them over.