Opinion: The cynicism behind health-care sabotage

(AP)

Open enrollment for Obamacare coverage begins Nov. 1, and already experts are warning of trouble. After years of decline, the number of uninsured has begun to rise, and as many as 1.6 million additional Americans will drop out of the program in 2018, many because they will no longer be able to afford it, according to Wall Street analyst S&P Global.

Much of the blame — or in their eyes, the credit — belongs to the Trump administration. They have slashed the number of “navigators” hired to answer questions and help people through the enrollment process, they have slashed the number of hours that the federal website is functional, they have slashed the enrollment period itself in half, they have slashed the program’s outreach and advertising budget, and they have forced insurance companies to dramatically increase the rates they charge, with some companies abandoning the market altogether.

In short, they have used every administrative tool at their disposal to sabotage the program and to increase doubt among insurers and insured, and to some degree it appears to be working.

They have also continued to block every effort to fix the problem. Earlier this month, for example, a group of Republican and Democratic senators hammered out a compromise that would address the rate-increase problem, and they claimed to have enough votes to pass it. However, President Trump quickly shot the plan down and House Speaker Paul Ryan said that if the Senate did pass it, he would refuse to allow his chamber to even vote on it. That ended that.

Shortly thereafter, Trump’s superPAC released a new TV ad, condemning Democrats for refusing to work with the president to fix health care.

Theoretically, you could try to defend such cynical sabotage if Republicans had a plan of their own that they wanted to implement. As we all have witnessed, they do not. They can destroy, but not build, and voters are noticing. In fact, with years of GOP healthcare promises now exposed as fraudulent, Americans are increasingly likely to embrace Obamacare and to want it improved rather than destroyed. In the latest Fox News poll, 54 percent now say they have a favorable opinion of Obamacare, with just 42 percent unfavorable. That’s a 16-point improvement since March of 2015.

Unfortunately, the sabotage effort has been particularly successful here in Georgia, where Republican state officials have been trying to undermine the program since its inception. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only two states have a higher uninsured rate than Georgia, and health-insurance rates for individuals on the benchmark “silver plans” have risen an average of 48 percent this year, well above the national average.

Then there’s the rural health-care crisis, the opioid epidemic and the question of Medicaid expansion. Mortality rates in rural communities have risen significantly, which is astonishing in a modern industrialized country, and rural hospitals are being forced to close for want of customers able to pay for treatment. Those hospitals are a major economic driver in their own rights, and without them, communities also have little chance of attracting other employers.

As other states have discovered, Medicaid expansion could help break that cycle. By increasing the number of paying customers, it has kept rural hospitals open and saved precious jobs. It has also provided treatment to men and women addicted to opioids or methamphetamine. But the odds of Georgia Republicans approving expansion in the 2018 Legislature, with many in leadership facing primary challenges, look slim.

Reader Comments 0

2199 comments
Wayne Wells
Wayne Wells

Let people buy their own insurance. I did for 55 years. The government is not responsible for your health insurance!!

Alan Hall
Alan Hall

This must be paid by them Dems cause it's all lies.

John Ploxa
John Ploxa

CALL DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE and leave a message for JEFF SESSIONS, get busy and appoint a NEW SPECIAL COUNSEL to investigate CLINTON, COMEY, LYNCH, MUELLER, OBAMA, all the criminals involved in this Uranium scandal and many other scandals....Department Comment Line: 202-353-1555 Department of Justice Main Switchboard: 202-514-2000

Larry Colley
Larry Colley

Hopefully it will self destruct whatever the cause!

Gerald Miller
Gerald Miller

The. You can keep your doctor! You can keep your plan! Your premiums will go down! Your deductibles will go down! You can only buy from your state programs! Yes all the lies that go with it!

Chris Policronis
Chris Policronis

That occurred back in 2010 (I believe) when Obamacare was originally passed. The whole thing was a fraud from the beginning. Harry Reid had to "bribe" democrat senators to vote for the bill, it was that bad. Remember the democrat Senator from Louisiana and the infamous modern day "Louisiana Purchase" as well as the "Corn Husker Kickback" for the senator from Iowa.

Mark Cosby
Mark Cosby

It’s sad how many Trump voters are angry and upset that he hasn’t succeeded in taking away their health coverage.

Gerald Miller
Gerald Miller

Haven't had your health coverage because I could not afford it

Tom Cummings
Tom Cummings

I’m pretty sure all the doubt and cynicism was there before Trump took office. It all started with the original Obama lies 1)if you like your healthcare you can keep it 2) if you like your doctor you can keep him/her 3) your healthcare premiums and deductibles will go down.

John Wilson
John Wilson

You still can get Obama care until December 15. They don't want you to know this by saying it's dead it's not

Chuck Strumpf
Chuck Strumpf

Yes you can still get ObamaCare until December 15th. Although Obamacare is spiraling out of control. Premiums are skyrocketed All Over America. This Healthcare System was not even designed to succeed it was designed to fail. So that the Democrats could push a single-payer system. So the question is before Obamacare what did people do for insurance? It was subsidized by the government we all know this. We also know that Obama lied when he told me that he keep my plan and keep my doctor and my premiums won't go up. I'm one of the fortunate ones that have Healthcare through my employer but my premiums Rose 38% just from my job. United States government needs to get out of the healthcare business.

Don Howe
Don Howe

Whoever posted this page is dumb as dirt

Shira Newman
Shira Newman

Exactly the reason that passing legislation that is only supported by legislators who don't want to talk with people who disagree with them is bad. When you are out of power (and you will be) your legislation will be gutted.

Stephen Scruggs
Stephen Scruggs

Uh, it’s not working. What sabotage. Obamas and democrats nightmare!

Kris Meletti
Kris Meletti

When the AJC brings a blanced commentary from both sides they may be respected again....doubtful

Bill Hall
Bill Hall

These free loaders will blame everything on Trump. They don't seem to know Obama had thissystem designed to fail. The government should get out of healthcare all the way.

Jill Bolduc
Jill Bolduc

Neither by husband, nor I have employer provided healthcare. We don’t want or need subsidies, but we do want insurance that covers emergency services, prescriptions, and well child visits. If maternity services weren’t covered, I would have had to go back to work to have my second child only to go on maternity leave. Because of the ACA the individual market for health care offered robust plans that were cheaper than the family plan offered by my previous employer and I had the option to stay home and care for my children. Free loaders we are not.

Michael Sheppard
Michael Sheppard

No, you arent a freeloader, you use violence to steal from your neighbor. Youre scumbags

Chuck Strumpf
Chuck Strumpf

Jill Bolduc I understand your concern. Before Obamacare there was plenty of ways that you could get insurance. That was subsidized from the government. The problem with Obamacare is that it makes everyone else in America pay for insurance that they don't need or maybe they don't want. There are many people in the country that don't have to have insurance. They might not get sick. Obama Carol is failing it was not designed for the American people. It was designed to fail so that the government could try and get single-payer healthcare. Which will never ever work. I hope that you have a blessed day

Marc J. Metivier
Marc J. Metivier

"There's a Citizen-Sucker Born Every Minute." The ACA was passed by Congressional Democrats exclusively. The SHIFTY SHYSTERS of snakery promoted their crafty, scheming scam using a cynical strategy of misdirection, deceit, and fraud. The cunning, calculating carnival barkers sold to the naive citizenry a congressional bill of goods because the dirty donkeys believe that there's a "citizen-sucker" born every minute. Let's review the notorious words of wondrous wizardry uttered by a hubristic head huckster of hooey who characterized and summarized the sneaky sales pitch. - "Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass . . . ." [MIT economist Jonathan Holmes Gruber] - - - - -

Kevin Cunningham
Kevin Cunningham

The biggest problem is that all of the people in the media and all of the politicians receive healthcare from their employers and do not have a clue about those of us who have to pay for healthcare our self, so they should walk a mile in our shoes before telling the world how great Obama care is!

Dylan Coffey
Dylan Coffey

Don't blame the ACA, blame an uncooperative industry and state governments (particularly our own).

Jill Bolduc
Jill Bolduc

Andy Slavitt, Sarah Kliff, and the LA Times write thorough, researched pieces about healthcare.

Jill Bolduc
Jill Bolduc

Also, I have experienced benefits from the reform I acted by the ACA. Neither by husband, nor I have employer provided healthcare. We don’t want or need subsidies, but we do want insurance that covers emergency services, prescriptions, and well child visits. If maternity services weren’t covered, I would have had to go back to work to have my second child only to go on maternity leave. Because of the ACA the individual market for health care offered robust plans that were cheaper than the family plan offered by my previous employer and I had the option to stay home and care for my children. Maybe having kidney stones is a preexisting condition that, before the ACA, would have prevented my access to the individual market or having had a C section or having two suspicious yet inactive masses in my brain. I’ve walked miles using the ACA. It is pretty good.

Gregory Smith
Gregory Smith

In short, federal involvement in providing healthcare is Unconstitutional. End of story.

Chuck Strumpf
Chuck Strumpf

What does Trump have to do with Healthcare this is Obama and the Democrats fault.

Debra Fish
Debra Fish

Get the government out of healthcare.

gotalife
gotalife

dems should unite with the gop establishment since they are establishment too.


Put the ignorant politics to a time out and get rid of the traitor.


Of course this will never happen when they are fixated on playing ignorant politics for elections.

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Yes, Debbie Do, the swamp is

full of dollars and Trump is

draining it as fast as he can.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

"I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States," Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee in the opening statement of his second testimony on June 13. "Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign."

~~~~Jeff Sessions


That's a bald faced Lie.  Mueller indictiment has revealed that Sessions was in the meeting when former adviser George Papadopoulos attended a "national security meeting in Washington D.C.," on March 31, 2016, along with Trump, Sessions and others. In that meeting, Papadopoulos "introduced himself," and explicitly stated "in sum and substance, that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and [Russian] President Putin."



gotalife
gotalife

Dems to file new impeachment articles against Trump

Yawn.

gotalife
gotalife

Watching Cam forced to answer questions is like watching Americans captured in North
Korea.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@gotalife


He's probably upset they traded Benjamin. Maybe they should bring Steve Smith back.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@StraightNoChaser


Well I think you can put pretty much anything you want on linkedin. Unless there is a verification of some kind.