There is no end to Donald Trump’s cruelty.
In the middle of a mismanaged pandemic that has already led to nearly 125,000 deaths, the Trump administration filed a legal brief at the Supreme Court on Thursday night calling for the total dismantling of the Affordable Care Act. If successful, millions of Americans will lose their health insurance at a time when having it couldn’t be more critical.
Furthermore, should Trump and Republicans get what they want, insurance companies would no longer be required to cover patients with preexisting conditions. That would be particularly problematic for Americans, thousands of whom will have lasting physical damage after they recover from COVID-19.
It has been 10 years since the ACA, colloquially known as Obamacare, became law. And for 10 years Republicans have tried to tear it down like a pack of rabid wolverines. They have failed twice to dismantle it through the courts, and Trump’s misguided attempt to replace it fell one vote short three years ago.
And, yet, here we are again. At the worst possible moment. With nothing to replace it.
From the ACA to DACA, Barack Obama pursued and enacted legislation that improved people’s lives. Everything Trump tries to do, and accomplishes, makes people’s lives worse. It’s almost as if Trump is on an active campaign to make Americans -- and non-citizens living in the United States -- as miserable as humanly possible.
Under Trump, immigrants have been deported for the slightest indiscretions, and migrants have had their children snatched away and thrown in cages. He attempted, and failed, to rescind DACA, and he supported discrimination in the workplace against the LGBTQ community.
Now, Trump is striking at the heart of everything decent and compassionate once again. If he has his way, Americans by the tens of thousands will be thrown back into world in which they will have to bankrupt themselves to stay alive.
Access to health care should not be viewed as a privilege. It is a human right, one that is granted to every citizen of every first-world Western nation. Our health-care system is still woefully inadequate, however, it is far better than what existed 10 years ago, when any kind of serious illness automatically resulted in financial catastrophe.
The irony is this move, if ultimately successful, will harm Trump’s base of supporters of uneducated white people the most. On the same day the Trump administration filed its legal brief, the government reported that approximately 487,000 Americans have picked up health insurance through the ACA this year after losing access to plans provided through their employer, presumably because they lost their jobs.
Republicans, who repealed the ACA’s individual-mandate clause in their 2017 tax bill, are now arguing the entire law is invalidated because there is no individual mandate. The Supreme Court has ruled the law constitutional twice, in a 5-4 decision in 2012 and in a 6-3 decision in 2015.
Trump is hoping that the third time will be the charm to eradicate President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, thereby creating chaos in the health-care industry and hardship for the 20 million Americans who rely on the program.
It is his latest attempt to screw the American people.