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Amid Pandemic, Trump Officials Target LGBTQ Health Care Rights

The Trump administration is finalizing its rewrite of a provision in the Affordable Care Act that would harm LGBTQ people's access to health care, even in the middle of a pandemic.

Section 1557 of the ACA prohibits health care discrimination based on sex and gender identity. According to Politico, a Trump-administration rewrite of the rule has been circulated at the Justice Department, which means the final version could be released publicly soon.

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Politifact: ‘False’ Rating For Trump On Pre-Existing Conditions Claim

There is no question in the minds of health care experts where Trump comes down on the issue of pre-existing conditions: He does “exactly the opposite” of protecting them.

In an analysis published Thursday, Politifact gave Trump a “False” rating for this claim from early May: “We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions, very importantly.”

The analysis relied on interviews with four experts who cited Trump’s desire to strike down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as contradicting the his claim.

In March, Trump’s Justice Department asked federal courts to completely eliminate the ACA, part of which protects people with pre-existing conditions from paying higher health care costs or being denied health insurance all-together. The administration reiterated their goal in May, writing that the entire ACA “must be struck down.”

Given Trump’s stance, “there is real cause for skepticism” about Trump’s claim, Wendy Netter Epstein, a DePaul University law professor, told Politifact.

Further, the Trump administration is allowing states to sell junk health insurance plans that are not required to protect people with pre-existing conditions, something Democrats are trying to stop.

In the end, the “White House’s policy trajectory does exactly the opposite” of protecting people with pre-existing conditions, concludes Politifact.

“The DOJ’s stance, which reflects a policy in place at the same moment the president made this claim, would eliminate the only law guaranteeing that people with pre-existing conditions both receive health coverage and do not have to pay more for it.” Further, “the administration has not put forth any plan that might keep those guarantees in place.”

The analysis goes on to say that Trump’s team has “taken further steps that could make it harder for people with pre-existing conditions to get affordable coverage.”

Rather than being honest about what he is fighting for, Trump’s statement “is not accurate and makes a claim in direct opposition of what’s actually happening.”

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Republicans Again Oppose ‘Pre-Existing Conditions’ Safeguard

A majority of Republicans once again voted to let health insurance companies discriminate against people with preexisting conditions.

On Thursday afternoon, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019 by a vote of 230 to 183. Democrats unanimously supported the bill, joined by only four Republicans. Every single vote against the bill came from Republicans.

On the issue of preexisting conditions, most Republicans sided with Trump, who announced on Tuesday that he would veto the bill if it ever made it to his desk. The Trump administration “strongly opposes” the bill because it “runs counter to the President’s healthcare vision.”

“Democrats are working to protect patients with preexisting conditions like cancer, diabetes and asthma but the Trump administration is now threatening to veto those efforts,” Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, said in a Wednesday statement.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH), is an effort to undo health care sabotage efforts by the Trump administration. The Trump administration encourages states to sell junk health insurance plans that weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Kuster’s bill would stop these junk plans from flooding the market.

“We cannot go back to a time when Americans with preexisting conditions can be charged more or denied care,” Kuster said on Wednesday.

Trump’s opposition to affordable health care, including protections for pre-existing conditions, is one of his most consistent policy positions. Trump championed 2017 efforts by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which ensures insurance companies can’t discriminate against people with preexisting conditions.

More recently, the Trump administration told a federal court that the ACA “must be struck down” in its entirety.

In Congress, Republicans are introducing sham bills that don’t adequately cover pre-existing conditions while refusing to support bills like Kuster’s.

Trump’s actions show a clear and consistent effort to undermine the health care of millions of Americans — but his rhetoric is full of lies claiming that he’s doing the opposite.

In the letter opposing Kuster’s bill, the Trump administration claims to be in favor of “improving care for people with pr-eexisting conditions.” In speeches, Trump loudly proclaims, “Republicans will always support pre-existing conditions!”

Yet when Congress has a bill to do exactly that, Trump issues a veto threat.

And Republicans once again made the decision to stand by Trump and turn their back on millions of Americans.

Published with permission of The American Independent. 

IMAGE: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

 

Trump Attorneys Demand Court Strike ‘Pre-Existing Condition’ Protections

In a Wednesday court filing, the Trump administration erased any doubt as to their position on destroying access to health care for millions of Americans: They’re all in.

The Department of Justice is asking a federal appeals court to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a decision which would cause at least 20 million Americans to lose their health insurance.

The ACA also contains popular and important protections, such as making sure insurance companies can’t discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, requiring plans to cover basic health needs like maternity care, and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. Those protections would go away if Trump gets his wish.

In the filing, Trump administration lawyers told the court that the ACA “must be struck down.” In fact, Trump’s team contemplated taking a position to defend certain provisions like pre-existing conditions protections — but made it clear that they have decided not lift a finger to help.

“Instead of rewriting the statute by picking and choosing which provisions to invalidate, the proper course is to strike it down in its entirety,” Trump’s lawyers state.

The filing by Trump’s Department of Justice supports the position of GOP-led states who filed the lawsuit against the ACA.

The filing follows a recent change in strategy for the Trump administration. In the past, the administration wanted only some parts of the ACA taken away. But in early 2019, Trump demanded that the administration fight to destroy the entire law. When given the opportunity to stand with Trump or stand up for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, congressional Republicans predictably stood with Trump.

Republicans spent almost a decade trying and failing to destroy the ACA. Even though the 2018 midterm election showed Americans overwhelmingly rejected those attempts, Republicans refuse to give up. Some Republicans have even introduced new legislation aimed at weakening protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

When asked who they trust on health care, Americans overwhelmingly reject Trump and Republicans. Americans want to strengthen and improve the current health care law, which is something Democrats have a plan to do.

And Democrats are defending the ACA from Republican attacks in the courts, too. The coalition defending the ACA in the lawsuit is led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

The Trump Administration chose to abandon ship,” Becerra said on Wednesday. “Our legal coalition will vigorously defend the law and the Americans President Trump has abandoned.”

Published with permission of The American Independent.