Trump Just Gave the Health Care Issue to Democrats in 2020

There were two main things that drove the blue wave in the 2018 midterm elections: (1) a resistance movement powered primarily by women, and (2) a backlash against Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare. Nevertheless, this administration has decided to double down on taking away people’s health insurance.

The Trump administration on Monday said the entire Affordable Care Act should be struck down, in a dramatic reversal.

In a filing with a federal appeals court, the Justice Department said it agreed with the ruling of a federal judge in Texas that invalidated the Obama-era health care law.

In a letter Monday night, the administration said “it is not urging that any portion of the district court’s judgment be reversed.”

“The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s comprehensive opinion came to the correct conclusion and will support it on appeal,” said Kerri Kupec, spokesperson for the Justice Department.

It is almost certain that this case will wind up being decided by the Supreme Court. That ruling will not only affect the 20 million people who get their health insurance through Obamacare and determine whether the guarantee of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions continues.

Obamacare saves senior citizens money on their Medicare coverage and prescription drugs. It lets many Americans obtain free birth control, mammograms and cholesterol tests. And it allows children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26.

The Trump administration is now asking the courts to wipe all of that out. Can you imagine what Democrats will be able to do with that on the campaign trail?

But it gets even better. House Democrats aren’t simply going to sit back and defend Obamacare. They have a plan to improve it.

House Democrats are rolling out a plan to strengthen the Affordable Care Act that would expand federal insurance subsidies and reverse the Trump administration’s attacks on the health care law…

In terms of actually providing health coverage to more people, the most important provision in the Democratic plan is the expansion of Obamacare’s premium tax credits. The bill both increases the subsidies for lower-income people who already qualify for aid and extends eligibility for federal assistance to people with higher incomes who are locked out currently…

So the new legislation would make premium tax credits available to everyone, capping payments on insurance premiums at 8.5 percent of their income.

The rest of the bill is a string of more technical provisions: creating a national reinsurance program, fixing the so-called “family glitch” that barred some families from accessing tax subsidies, and, importantly, reversing the Trump administration’s regulatory agenda. The Democratic bill rolls back or otherwise curtails Trump’s expansion of short-term insurance plans not required to meet the ACA’s protections for preexisting conditions. It also requires the administration to spend federal money on enrollment outreach, after Trump officials cut that budget dramatically over the past two years.

Demonstrating that Democrats can walk and chew gum at the same time, while they are passing bills with those provisions, they’ll be working on this:

House Democrats are planning to hold hearings on Medicare-for-all and these other ideas later this year. They have asked the Congressional Budget Office for a bunch of information about how those plans could be designed and how much they would cost.

The next two years will serve as an information-gathering exercise as Democrats debate how far they want to go in expanding health coverage to more Americans. In the meantime, they are laying out more targeted proposals to strengthen Obamacare and to beat back the Trump administration’s assault on the current health care law.

Contrary to what a lot of people have been suggesting over the last couple of days, perhaps Democrats can even walk, chew gum, and have an engaging conversation at the same time.

Shortly after Barr’s summary was given to Congress, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said his committee would call on the attorney general to testify.

“In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before House Judiciary in the near future,” Nadler tweeted.

All Republicans have, other than taking away health insurance for millions of Americans, is Donald Trump and his tweets.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.