Former President Donald Trump suggested in a social media post over the weekend that, if he were to win the 2024 presidential election, he would continue pursuing avenues to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare because it was passed during the first term of former President Barack Obama, is directly responsible for providing health coverage to tens of millions more Americans over the past decade. In addition to making health coverage more widely available, the law ensures that insurance companies cannot deny a person health care on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions, and requires most insurers to cover birth control costs.
The law is also popular. Polling on the ACA has shown a net-positive view of the law for several years now, with a survey conducted in May of this year showing that nearly 6 in 10 Americans (59 percent) view the ACA favorably, with only 40 percent viewing it unfavorably.
Trump’s recent comments on his fledgling Truth Social site, however, indicate that he’d seek to repeal the law once more if elected to the White House in the upcoming 2024 election.
In his post, Trump claims that ACA costs are “out of control” and that the program doesn’t produce “good Healthcare.”
“We had a couple of Republican Senators who campaigned for 6 years against it, and then raised their hands not to terminate it,” Trump said, referring to a vote that took place while he was in office. “It was a low point for the Republican Party, but we should never give up!”
According to reporting from Semafor, President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign is preparing to amp up defenses of the ACA, pointing to these and other comments that hint at Trump’s plan to destroy the program.
“[Trump] was one vote away from [repealing the ACA] when he was president — and we should take him at his word that he’ll try to do it again,” Ammar Moussa, director of rapid response for the Biden campaign, told the publication, adding that Trump’s views on the ACA are “toxic, extreme positions” and that a defense of the ACA is a “political winner” for Democrats.
This isn’t to say that the ACA doesn’t have significant faults, however. Progressives have long noted that the law doesn’t produce a system where everyone is insured, and that, far from bringing the U.S. toward a single-payer model of health care, in line with virtually every other wealthy country, the ACA merely transfers public funding to private insurance companies.
“While more people in the United States gained health insurance because of the ACA, the biggest winners were private health insurance, pharmaceutical companies and large hospital corporations,” retired pediatrician and Medicare for All advocate Margaret Flowers wrote in an op-ed for Truthout in February 2021.
At the time of her op-ed, Flowers was criticizing the Biden administration for its plans to spend more money on the ACA in its American Rescue Plan. Doing so would not do much to benefit Americans overall, Flowers suggested.
“We cannot solve the health care crisis by tweaking the current complicated for-profit health care system. Throwing more money at it will cover more people, but it won’t cover everyone, and it won’t guarantee that people will get the health care they need even with insurance,” Flowers noted. “Health care is a public good, not a commodity. It can’t be treated as both at the same time. They contradict each other.”
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