“We’re going to have insurance for everybody.” That’s what President Trump promised less than two months ago.
Unfortunately, with the release of the long-awaited TrumpCare plan, it has become clear that the president lied to us. Worse, this proposal will hurt most the millions of our fellow Americans who made clear by supporting Trump’s campaign that they felt left behind.
TrumpCare would make it nearly impossible for older, working people to afford health care. While the Affordable Care Act offers generous subsidies to assist working- and middle-class families to pay for insurance, those subsidies would be slashed under the Republican proposal, particularly for lower-income, older people. This would sharply increase the cost of care for those of us who can scarcely afford more out-of-pocket expenses. The results would be disastrous: Many working-class Connecticut residents would simply no longer be able to afford coverage.
In real terms, that means a hardworking father making $50,000 per year and nearing the end of his career could expect to receive approximately $3,000 less each year to help him pay for coverage. This is on top of premiums continuing to rise at a higher rate than under the current system.
The simple truth is that, if this bill were to pass, millions of Americans and thousands of Connecticut residents would lose health coverage, and costs would rise significantly for the more than 85,000 people who have obtained coverage through the Connecticut exchange. This is a glaring example of a policy that will directly and disproportionately hurt our friends and neighbors who struggle each day to make ends meet and support their families.
TrumpCare finds other ways to harm working- and middle-class people. The proposed bill allows insurance companies to charge staggeringly high rates to people who choose not to or are unable to purchase insurance — after subsidies are slashed and the price of insurance skyrockets. In other words, if a middle-class person can’t afford insurance and they get sick, coverage would cost them 30 percent more than an already unaffordable plan. I repeat, this bill creates a new 30 percent tax when people are least able to afford it. This scenario would play out if this bill passes, and it could lead to financial ruin for real people.
As costs increase and health insurance, once within reach, becomes untenable for millions of Americans thanks to TrumpCare, President Trump and his GOP allies in Congress would also use this legislation to offer massive tax cuts to billionaires, millionaires, and top executives of major insurance companies.
In other words, Republicans refuse to continue the financial support that the Affordable Care Act made available to low-income Americans, and they plan to literally redirect that financial support to those at the very top of the income spectrum. This is not theoretical. Healthcare is a right, but, as a result of TrumpCare, our neighbors will be forced to make decisions about whether or not basic health coverage is an option for their families – while the ultra wealthy get tax breaks.
As a Democrat, I believe that people who work full time should have access to quality, affordable health care, just as they ought to be able to earn a livable wage. President Trump and his Republican allies disagree.
Despite his promises, the actual Trump plans will hurt at a disproportional rate those who believed him and put him into office. It’s yet another example of the Republican Party making big promises to working- and middle-class voters, only to turn around and do the exact opposite.
I hope Connecticut Republicans,who have long pushed to repeal the Affordable Care Act and steadfastly supported the Trump agenda, will come up with a plan to make sure the thousands of Connecticut residents set to lose coverage under TrumpCare can access health care.
Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening.
Nick Balletto is chairman of the Connecticut Democratic Party.