The more a falsehood is repeated, the more likely people are to believe it. It’s a strategy that Democrats have grown fond of. On CNN, Joe Biden suggested 100 million Americans with preexisting conditions would lose their healthcare if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was eliminated. A similar refrain echoed throughout the Senate Judiciary Committee room as some lawmakers attempted to tie the future confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to Americans losing healthcare.
However, the claim flies in the face of reality.
The talking point originated in the Obama administration, which argued, absent of the Affordable Care Act, 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions would be left out in the cold without the “protections” of the ACA. However, facts paint a different picture. Only 2.7 percent of that group actually accessed healthcare through the ACA exchanges; the vast majority received help through alternative programs that already existedand contained those protections.
And just because the ACA extended health insurance to some additional Americans—a noble intention to be sure—it didn’t necessarily provide the right healthcare. Health insurance does not equate to healthcare.
As a doctor, I’ve seen this scenario play out firsthand. Many of my patients, at one time or another, have been unable to receive the imaging, testing, or drugs they need because it’s not on the insurer’s pre-approved coverage list. ACA red tape strangles the healthcare system, forcing insurers to only provide rigid one-size-fits-all plans.
Doctors also spend twice as much time on paperwork as they do seeing patients—which slowly eats away at the patient-doctor relationship. High premiums and deductibles further prevent many people who have insurance from using it. These are the problems with the ACA already acknowledged by the Democrats. Why else would they push such a sweeping reform as Medicare for All, or the public option, if the law was so bulletproof in the first place?
Rather than keeping the status quo, Americans should demand something better.
Joe Biden’s repeated claims that Trump and the Republican “have no plan” couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve carefully reviewed President Trump’s past moves on healthcare, as well as his recent executive actions. While there is no sweeping 1500-page bill passed in the middle of the night, President Trump began reforming healthcare in 2017 when he repealed the ACA’s individual mandate—saving families thousands of dollars at $695 per adult and $347.50 per child in “tax payments.”
President Trump has taken additional steps to help lower medical costs through price transparency, provide Americans with more healthcare choices, and reaffirm his support for protecting preexisting conditions. He has also embarked on a crusade to limit surprise medical billing and has taken action to significantly lower the prices of specific drugs, including insulin and injectable epinephrine, and encouraged the manufacture of medications in the U.S. rather than abroad. The recently unveiled America First Healthcare Plan, which mirrors a framework created by the Job Creators Network Foundation and Physicians for Reform, encapsulates all of these ideas.
Democrats continue to claim that Donald Trump and the Republicans want to take away your healthcare—a comedic line coming from the group who previously promised that Americans would be able to keep their doctors and their plans. But all the current administration and his allies in Congress really want to do is provide Americans with better quality, personalized healthcare at a more affordable cost.
Dr. Johnson is trained in pediatric critical care and practices in Cleveland. She is also the president and cofounder of Physicians for Patients and a member of the Job Creators Network.