No one could deny that 2017 has been the most tumultuous political year we’ve seen in decades. Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, he’s fallen into major disputes with countries such as North Korea, played a leading role in the rise of U.S. racial tensions, and worked hard to undo anything President Barack Obama put his name to. Including, but not limited to, the controversial “Affordable Care Act.”
Obama care, or the Affordable Care Act, came under much scrutiny from day one. While the whole point was to ensure that those in need could access affordable health care, many were up in arms when the prices on their insurance plans skyrocketed. In fact, the sudden increases detracted attention from Obama’s attempts. Few people realized that, with his health care act, he was hoping to extend care policies to include mental health, addiction, and many other neglected areas.
It’s no surprise then that Trump assumed he would have support when it came to repealing the health care act. In fact, statistics from his campaign suggest that more Americans were behind his health care proposals than anything else. Yet, when it came down to it, Trumpcare didn’t quite trump the victory he’d be expecting. Every attempt to repeal Obama care has failed to gain necessary support.
So, what’s Trump done about it? While continuing to fight against the Affordable Care Act, He’s had to go in through that back door. Instead of disbanding the act up front, he’s doing so in small increments. And, the announcement of significant cuts on August 31st is a good indicator of what he’s trying to do. While he can’t disband affordable care, cutting money to this extreme is sure to see it in jeopardy. Grants to organizations which help with enrollment were reduced by 40%, while the advertising budget was slashed from $100 million to $10 million. Cuts like these send a clear, hard message that Trump will have the final say when it comes to our health care.
But, it would be fair to wonder whether Trump’s determination to remove Obama’s legacy is blinding him. A look at what’s currently happening elsewhere in the medical world is enough to show that Trump’s vision may not be paying off. After all, the argument against Obama care is the issue of rocketing insurance costs. But, that situation is far from improving. Instead of lowering insurance costs, paying users face yet another year of double-digit increases. In some cases, policy prices will rise as much as 35% by 2018.
You could, of course, argue that the Affordable Care Act started this upward spiral. But, far from lessening the blow, Trump’s efforts so far have only worsened the situation. As well as making it harder for those in need to gain care, he’s neglecting the people who voted for him on this basis. A Delaware hairdresser who fell into that category went as far as to say, “I’m ready to stomp on the White House lawn. I am fuming.” And, she’s not alone. Tensions are rising across the country on this matter.
And, the bad news about Trump’s efforts doesn’t stop there. Given that he promised to provide affordable health insurance, it seems he’s taking his eye off the ball. Despite rising prices, the treatments covered by insurers are becoming more obscure. So much so that as many as 53 million insured Americans are refused coverage on treatment for chronic and long-term conditions.
What is or isn’t covered by insurance has always been a matter for scrutiny. A great example would be in mental health and addiction cases, where many insurers refused to pay out. While there are currently options such as Humana insurance to fall back on, the future looks increasingly uncertain. Add to that the fact that the GOP’s plan reduces spending in these areas, and it’s easy to see why sufferers are concerned.
Now, though, it’s not only these gray areas which face uncertainty. A survey commissioned by the Doctor-Patient Rights Project in March of this year has revealed some shocking realities. A chilling 24% of patients were denied much-needed treatment by their insurer. Worse, they often had to wait more than a month to receive a decision on the issue. Hence, even those accepted for treatment had to delay it.
So, why has this issue escaped Trump’s attention? For the most part, a lack of official statistics on the matter can be to blame. The above survey was not exhaustive or funded enough to catch the eye of those in charge. Yet, few studies have managed to do so. In fact, given how large a part of American culture health insurance is, shockingly few large-scale studies have been done. In fact, the first and only proper study, by the Government Accounting Office, wasn’t conducted until 2011.
Plus, as mentioned above, Trump’s focus definitely seems to be on repealing Obama’s efforts, more than improving the situation. No one can claim that Obama care was a huge success, but healthcare is a situation in which there are no easy answers. Now, though, instead of undoing what’s been done, it’s possible Trump should be attempting to change our current situation. Instead of starting at the root of insurance, it may be worth working out the kinks.
Besides which, the thought behind Obamacare is one we can all get behind. Trump, by comparison, seems to be raising premiums for all walks of society. As it stands, it’s difficult to see who will benefit from this, apart from the administration. One thing’s sure; if Trump wants to keep his supporters, he needs to find some way through the problem at hand. It won’t be easy, as previous efforts have shown. But, for a president who placed so much import in affordable health care, we have yet to see any positive changes. In fact, a look at the news would suggest that things are getting worse, rather than better. Whatever your opinion, we can all agree that looking forward should be more important than looking back.