This article is written from a Democratic point of view.
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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While Donald Trump’s administration has tied itself to a court case designed to strike down the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, House Democrats put forward new legislation aimed at strengthening the ACA.
Trump’s Justice Department has involved itself in an appellate case which potentially could do what Republicans could not do in Congress: bring down the nine-year-old ACA.
“Let me just tell you exactly what my message is: The Republican Party will soon be known as the party of health care,” Trump said.
It was an odd message for Trump, given that, he and his Republicans have no comprehensive alternative ready if the ACA were to fall. Moreover, although the law began as unpopular years ago, it has become much more popular with the American people in recent years.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll just this month found 50 percent support the ACA, compared to just 39 percent opposed.
“The Republican Party is going to be known as the party of taking health care away from millions of Americans,” said Julian Castro, an Obama administration Cabinet official and now more than a dozen Democrats running for president. “… That this administration is going completely against the will of the people. Going against the will of Congress. And trying to pull the rug out from under millions and millions of American families. People who have preexisting conditions, who are only able to get health insurance–able to afford health insurance because the Affordable Care Act–says you cannot consider preexisting conditions to those health insurers.
“So basically, this administration and the Republican Party wants to go back to the bad old days where people couldn’t get health insurance if they had a preexisting condition, where folks were not able to stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26. They got thrown off a lot earlier. And generally, where millions and millions of people less had health insurance,” Castro added during an appearance on CNN. “I mean, the Affordable Care Act at one time before this administration started to sabotage it, 20 million more people were able to get affordable health care coverage. That had been amazing. And it is something else to watch a president and a party that get their kicks out of hurting people, whether it’s with health care or those children that they’re separating from their families at the border. It is just amazing to watch.”
While Trump was touting his administration’s role in the lawsuit which could bring down the ACA, over on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats were rolling out the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions & Making Health Care More Affordable Act.
The legislation would lower healthcare insurance premiums, stop so-called junk health plans, strengthen protections for pre-existing conditions and reverse the sabotage and neglect of the ACA at the hands of Trump and other Republicans, Pelosi said.
“Protecting and strengthening health care is why Democrats are here. On Day One, the first day, as we were sworn in the 116th Congress, the House voted to intervene against Republicans’ monstrous health care lawsuit,” Pelosi said.
“We continued to work on legislation to lower prescription drug prices for seniors and families across America. And today, led by our freshmen, we are taking another big step forward to lower health care costs for the American people,” she added.