Trump Health Care Plan: Wheat for the Rich; Chaff for the Middle Class

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economics medicare for all

On December 22, 2017, amid much breast-beating and boasting of the greatest political victories of all time, surpassing Harry Truman and the Republican Demi-God, Ronald Reagan, Trump sat in the oval office and signed his tax cuts. You can find it on YouTube.

At that very moment, he made billionaires richer, and relegated average Americans, unless he is either impeached or tossed out by voters, to reduced incomes and potential poverty in retirement.

You see, with that one signature, he diminished Obamacare and created trillion-dollar deficits, which started in 2019 and will continue for at least a decade. That is, of course, unless Trump–and the Republicans in the Senate and House, billionaire-bought and owned–are removed from office.

Do you think the plans from Trump and the Republicans about your healthcare will keep you safe? We’ll tell you what they are. You decide.

Trump promised to protect your health care…as bad as it is right now, and it is very bad. But one of the first things he did was to hold a party for the Republicans in the House in 2017 when they voted to repeal Obamacare with no alternative, no protections for the people at all. That is why, in 2018, Americans voted out those corrupt Republicans in the House.

The only reason Americans aren’t living under the disastrous Republican health care plan right now is thanks to courageous, honorable, dying Senator John McCain who gave his last vote to saving Obamacare.

John McCain had had voted against when the Affordable Care Act and led a fight against it. He was not in favor of any public plans, on personal grounds, that would substitute for private enterprise. But, by 2017, he realized that only a public health care system could protect the people. He saw, nearly ten years later, the value to Americans of at least this partial effort at a system like those much better plans in countries all over the world.

The Republicans in the House voted to repeal Obamacare 60 times and failed because President Obama would have vetoed it to protect American families. Now, with Trump in office, they passed a new bill that repealed Obamacare and offered virtually nothing to replace it.

Trump held a party in the White House for Republicans to celebrate the victory of the billionaires over the people. Meanwhile, Republicans in the Senate, even those in the newly white-slave, indentured-worker South, began to hear rumblings from their constituents.

The noise that would become a roar in 2018 and toss out 40 House Republicans and give the Democrats a majority was coming through the phones in the Senate offices for Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee, along with the Northern and Western states. A vote for the House plan could cost them the Senate, a risk even across the solid South

Mitch McConnell, assured of hundreds of millions of dollars in television commercials and the loyalty of the Fox News channel to him and to Trump, decided to sneak through a modified version of the House-passed Obamacare repeal that would appease the GOP’s billionaire backers, yet hold off the revolution by the People against the old, disastrous health care approach. That Senate bill was the one that McCain eventually voted into the dustbin of history.

Once Trump came into office, it was clear the Republicans felt they finally had their opportunity to pay the bill for hundreds of millions of campaign contributions from the health care industry. Trump would sign anything. He had no problem with lying to the People to support his fellow billionaires.

But can Americans look forward to in the Ttump health care plan starting in 2020, if passed?

First, a rollback of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, drastically reducing health care services for the poor to tens of millions of Americans.

Second, a change in the subsidies to insurance companies that lower insurance premiums, substituting a tax rebate plan where individual families would get a tax credit of somewhere between $2,000 to as much as $14.000 but only if you are below a certain income.

Third, insurance companies allowed to charge older adults as much as five times more than younger adults for their health insurance.

Fourth, Medicaid monies provided to the states in bloc grants if they requested. This loosens the reins on monies tightly guarded for health care to the poor. And these Medicaid funds would now be capped.

Fifth, the health care plans would not be required to provide a minimum standard of service. That means that insurers would be able to lower all standards by simply putting out an extremely cheap policy with little care and little cost, which would drop standards for all care and raise costs on high quality care.

Sixth, cuts to the modest taxes on the rich, which raise $30 billion a year to help pay for the subsidies to insurance companies to maintain lower insurance premium rates for poorer working families. (Taxes, actually surtaxes amounting to a fraction of a percent.)

The Solution? Well, there is one. But first, get some real facts. No one lays out facts better than a Chief Financial Officer of any corporation. Hospitals are no exception. Here is what the hospital CFO report card say about health care costs, and they are the experts.

A typical American family of four insured by the most common employer-sponsored health plan can expect to spend more than $28,000 on healthcare in 2018, according to the annual Milliman Medical Index report.  

Here are six key insights from 2018’s medical index:

  1. A family of four will pay an average of $28,166 in 2018, an increase of $1,222 from 2017. The estimate includes the average cost of health insurance paid by employers and employees, as well as deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.
  2. For a family of four, 31 percent of healthcare expenditures in 2018 will be inpatient services; 29 percent will be physician services; 19 percent will be outpatient services; 17 percent will be pharmacy services; and 4 percent of expenditures will be “other” services, such as home healthcare or ambulance services.
  3. Over the last 10 years, the amount a family of four spends on healthcare has been increasing by an average of $100 per month.
  4. While the dollar amount families of four spend on healthcare continues to increase, the pace at which it grows is slowing. The report cited several reasons for this trend, including provider engagement in reducing healthcare spending; more efficient plan designs that are encouraging consumers to find cost-effective care; and public programs such as value-based care initiatives.
  5. The total cost of healthcare for a typical family of four is shared by employers and employees. In 2018, about $15,788 of healthcare costs for a family of four will be paid by the employer; $7,674 will be via employee payroll deduction; and $4,704 will be out-of-pocket expenses. Based on these dollar amounts, employees will pay about 44 percent of their healthcare costs. In 2008, employees paid under 40 percent of their healthcare costs.
  6. While both employer and employee costs have increased from 2017 to 2018, the employee saw a larger increase in costs. Employee healthcare spending increased 5.9 percent, compared to an employer increase of 3.5 percent.”

This report lays out the facts clearly. We need cost containment measures. As concluded by Nobel Prize Winning economist Kenneth Arrow in 1950, a “for-profit” health care system is counter-productive, with incentives for companies to do what they actually do every day in practice. They simply raise rates when their costs go up, as any corporation would do. And each time they do, they include their profit, which ranges anywhere from 20% to 70% depending upon, apparently, what they can get away with.

So…what is the solution? The solution is Medicare-for-All. The solution is some form of this, removing profit, reducing costs and extending health care services to all citizens. Some form of that public plan is the norm is almost every European country and Canada. Their services are better and their costs are anywhere from one third to a half of what we pay. Yes, they pay higher taxes, but not merely for better health care. They have many, many other advantages that U.S. citizens do not have.

With Medicare-for-All, you will have the same doctor and hospital. You will have no monthly premiums. You will have health care that cannot be denied. If you have a serious, life-threatening problem you will receive treatment or an operation in accordance with the recommendations of a physician, not an insurance executive. You will have better, longer care, rehabilitation, and prescription drugs negotiated by government officials  whose job incentive will be to lower government costs.

Medicare-for-All is the Anti-Trump, Anti-Republican, Anti-Right Wing (anti-Fascist) solution. With this plan, our health care cost will go down, faster than theydid in pre-Rubio, pre-Republican takeover Obamacare. Under Obamacare, even as incomes began to rise after the Great Bush Recession, health care costs went down every year, until they finally reached a zero increase in costs. Then came the Rubio amendment which sent insurance premiums soaring and cause the literal unavailability of any private health care plans for a time in some areas of the country. Use common sense. Vote Democratic. Not Republican. It is easy to say that. Obamacare was not perfect but every Democrat but one, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, voted for it. And until now, Obamacare has saved tens of thousands of lives, provided health care to at least 30 million Americans and reduced costs for hundreds of millions over what they would be without it.

We know what Republicans did. They voted for a health care plan that will not protect the most vulnerable Americans. It will not reduce prescription drug prices. It will not demand that young working people pay some small amount for a truly meaningful health care plan that will spread any big health care costs across the entire spectrum of Americans, thus reducing costs. They will eliminate the small surtaxes on the super-rich and re-apply those costs to the Middle Class.

All these things  are in the Trumpcare plan, the Republican plan, to continue the health care system as it is and take parts of it back to the frightening results for those families suddenly in need. They will continue the hundreds of thousands of bankruptcies by families who simply did not have enough coverage from their insurance when they needed it most.

Simply put: if your biggest concern is health care, there is no other option. You must vote Democratic.