Despite the ongoing distractions of the Russia investigation, amplified by the sideshow circus of James Comey’s testimony before the Senate, President Trump re-focused his attention Wednesday on an issue that actually matters to the voters: The repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. In comments to reporters in Ohio, the president said that Obamacare was “one of the biggest broken promises in the history of politics.”
The timing of President Trump’s remarks was decisive, considering that insurance company Anthem had just announced that the high costs and uncertainty surrounding the Obamacare marketplace was forcing them to pull out of the Ohio exchange. Trump told reporters that this was only the latest evidence that Obamacare was stuck in a death spiral from which it could not – and would not – recover.
“Obamacare is dead,” he said. “I’ve been saying it for a long time, everybody knows it – everybody that wants to report fairly about it does,” Trump said.
In his speech, Trump said that while he had hoped that Republicans and Democrats could work together on healthcare for the good of the American people, his enemies across the aisle were not interested in compromise.
“We’ve having no help, it’s only obstruction from the Democrats,” he lamented. “The Democrats are destroying health care in this country.”
Anthem’s withdrawal from the Buckeye State is a major blow to Ohio’s health insurance marketplace, leaving up to 18 counties with exactly zero insurance plans on the exchange for 2018. The company also indicated that it was entirely possible that they would be dropping out of additional marketplaces in 14 other states over the coming year if nothing changed in Washington.
Remarking on the decision, Alleigh Marré of the Department of Health and Human Services said Anthem’s pullout marked a dark day for struggling insurance customers in Ohio.
“This news is heartbreaking for the millions of Ohioans who depend on access to affordable, high-quality healthcare, and this is a stark reminder that Obamacare is collapsing,” Marré said. “Now is the time to advance real healthcare reform that empowers individuals and families with the choices and resources they need to buy a plan that meets their healthcare needs without breaking their budgets. The American people can’t afford to wait any longer.”
This increases the pressure on the Republican-controlled Senate to come up with a bill that can finally end up on the president’s desk. The final plan is unlikely to be the golden legislation that conservatives crave, but it is increasingly obvious that the federal government cannot wait around and “see” what happens with Obamacare. It’s finished. Democrats need to understand that when and if it collapses entirely, their cynical plot to blame Republicans just isn’t going to work. And the fact that they would be willing to take that risk for political gain shows you how little they actually care about the poor, suffering patients they claim to support.