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Republican Party’s health care problems largely of its own making

Republican Party’s health care problems largely of its own making
November 10
05:07 2017

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on tax policy with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington

NEW YORK: President Donald Trump’s re-election committee is lashing out at Democrats in a new TV ad that incorrectly blames his critics in the opposing party for blocking fixes to the nation’s health care system.

The ad seizes on “skyrocketing” insurance premiums “all while Democrats in Washington, D.C., block a better plan to repeal and replace Obamacare once and for all – obstructing our president just to score political points with the radical left.”

The ad comes as the Trump White House and GOP leaders in Congress struggle to revive efforts to repeal and replace Barack Obama’s health care law.

Despite the ad’s claims, however, the Republican Party’s health care problems are largely of its own making.

The president’s party, which controls the House and the Senate, had a chance to pass a new health care law without a single Democratic vote in the summer. Recent health care plans backed by the White House stalled chiefly because Republicans like Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Arizona Sen. John McCain opposed the specific fixes.

The ad excludes Republican critics altogether, even though Trump and his allies have attacked them publicly in recent weeks.

The TV spot features grainy images of Democrats such as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson, the cowboy hat-wearing Democrat who recently clashed with Trump over his comments to the widow of a fallen soldier.

“President Trump will fix it,” the narrator says of health care.

The Congressional Budget Office has determined that the White House-backed legislation would cause millions of Americans to lose health care coverage in the coming years, while eliminating popular protections in some cases for those with pre-existing health conditions.

At the same time, the ad omits significant information about insurance premiums.

Insurance premiums associated with the federal health care law are indeed rising. The consulting firm Avalere Health determined that premiums for the most popular “Obamacare” plans are going up an average of 34 percent.

But the firm found that the Trump administration’s actions are contributing to the price increases by adding instability to the underlying problems of the health law’s marketplaces. Avalere said market instability is driven by Trump’s recent decision to end subsidy payments to insurers, the continued debate over repeal and replace, and a presidential executive order that could open a path for lower cost plans outside of the Obama-era law.-AP



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