President Donald Trump stepped up his relentless assault on the Affordable Care Act, or, as he prefers, “Obamacare,” last week by ordering an end to subsidies that make health insurance affordable for those of low and modest incomes. It’s but the latest maneuver to destroy the ACA, which Trump has wrongly characterized as a “disaster” and a “nightmare” when in fact it has made health insurance possible for more than 20 million Americans.
Ending the subsides, which Trump in an executive order coupled with wanting cheaper policies with less coverage made available – some call that “junk insurance” – will likely cause premiums to jump sharply for many people. That is, if his order is carried out. And that’s open to question, since federal agencies have to put rules in place following public comment, comment that according to polls may not go the way Trump believes it will.
This is more of a stunt than anything else, though it’s a stunt that could hurt people if instituted, and it was sad to see N.C. Rep. Virginia Foxx, whose 5th District in the northwest mountains includes moderate- and lower-income people, standing with Trump at the signing of the order.
Republican members of Congress know that roiling the health insurance system is going to hurt them in an election now about a year away. They’ll have to answer to the people then – not to the CEO of the Trump real estate enterprise.