Trump ‘coming for’ Black America’s health care with Obamacare vow
“If Donald Trump wins next year, he's coming for your health care,” warned former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Former President Donald Trump is vowing yet again to repeal the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, which would have devastating impacts on Black communities and their access to affordable and quality health insurance.
On his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump, the leading 2024 Republican presidential candidate, wrote that he is “seriously looking at alternatives” to Obamacare, which he argued is too costly.
“We had a couple of Republican Senators who campaigned for 6 years against it, and then raised their hands not to terminate it,” wrote Trump. “It was a low point for the Republican Party, but we should never give up!”
The Biden-Harris campaign quickly slammed Trump’s renewed push to do away with former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law that resulted in tens of millions of uninsured Americans getting access to health care, including approximately three million Black Americans.
In a statement to theGrio, Biden-Harris campaign communications director Michael Tyler said, “It’s no great mystery why one of Donald Trump’s first campaign pledges is to repeal Obamacare: The architect of the birther movement has a deep-seated disdain for the signature accomplishment of America’s first Black president.”
Tyler said Obamacare was a “literal lifesaver” for Black America and warned what they stand to face if Trump is elected for a second term in 2024. He said the former Republican president would “rip health care away” from 40 million people and “blow up” the uninsured rate for Black Americans to 20%.
The Biden-Harris campaign official added, “While President Biden has delivered for the Black community, expanding health care access, capping the cost of insulin at $35, and lowering costs, in Donald Trump’s America, millions of Black Americans will get sick, go broke, or worse.”
The campaign continued on the offensive on Tuesday with a press call featuring Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who served as House speaker when Congress passed Obamacare in 2010, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, whose state will expand Medicaid coverage on Friday.
“If Donald Trump wins next year, he’s coming for your health care,” Pelosi warned.
Trump made repealing Obamacare a core part of his 2016 presidential campaign. While serving as president in 2017, Trump and Republicans, who controlled both chambers of Congress, failed to get enough votes in the Senate to repeal the law, though it did strike down a tax penalty associated with it.
The U.S. Supreme Court also overwhelmingly ruled against a lower court order that Obamacare’s individual mandate was unconstitutional. Additionally, Trump’s Department of Justice declined to defend the health care law when it was challenged in a federal lawsuit by a group of red states.
Given the repeated losses at attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Gov. Cooper said it’s “hard” to believe Trump is “bringing up this ACA threat once again.”
“We got to believe him because he tried it before and almost succeeded,” he added.
Daniel Dawes, a health policy researcher who serves as senior vice president at Meharry Medical College, told theGrio that when Trump was in office, the number of uninsured Americans began rising after significantly decreasing during the Obama years.
Part of the reason, said Dawes, was because the Trump administration moved to “claw back funding” for navigators, whose job is to go into Black and other communities with the highest uninsured rates to educate them about coverage options in the marketplace under Obamacare.
“Where he wasn’t able to repeal it fully, they went about employing this very strategic, piecemeal approach to cutting wherever they could,” Dawes explained.
He warned that a repeal of Obamacare would impact a host of other equity measures within the Affordable Care Act, including an anti-discrimination provision allowing patients to file lawsuits to protect their health care rights.
“The Trump administration tried to impose and prevent the implementation of that provision and tried to water it down significantly,” said Dawes.
The health equity expert noted the law also includes 10 categories of essential health benefits covered in the marketplace that Black Americans rely on, like ambulatory patient services, emergency services, mental health and substance use services, and maternity and newborn care.
Given Black Americans suffer “greater disparities,” such as in maternal health and mental health, Dawes said he worries about what a hypothetical Trump administration in 2025 could mean for the future health of Black and other marginalized communities.
For example, Dawes said that as the uninsured rate in America increased, so did trends in the mental health of Black children and their disproportionate rate of suicide.
Other important benefits Black Americans stand to lose are coverage for preventive services at no additional costs to the beneficiary, like immunizations for children, colonoscopy screenings, and mammograms for women, particularly Black women who have “the most deadly form of breast cancer among all women.”
Health care costs remain a top issue for Black voters, according to countless studies, including a survey conducted last year by theGrio and KFF.
Since taking office, President Biden has endeavored to improve the Affordable Care Act law by bolstering funding to lower premium rates and capping the price of insulin through the Inflation Reduction Act.
Dawes called Obamacare “the most comprehensive and reticulated health policy that we have ever achieved post-Reconstruction.”
He said it’s “no surprise” that there are continual calls to resist attempts that “stretch the umbrella of health policies to be more inclusive of all population groups.”
Dawes added, “There are always groups of people who are undermining that attempt to advance health equity, and that is what perturbs me as we move forward with this election.”
Gerren Keith Gaynor is a White House Correspondent and the Managing Editor of Politics at theGrio. He is based in Washington, D.C.
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