Our Turn: To protect health care, we must defeat Trump

Image result for Our Turn: To protect health care, we must defeat TrumpJust over a year ago, Donald Trump showed New Hampshire voters one of the most important reasons why he doesn’t deserve another term as president and one of the biggest ways he’s making America worse.

On June 8, 2018, the Trump administration went to a district court in Texas in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act by eliminating the individual mandate and thus effectively eliminating health care protections for pre-existing conditions.

Whether you’ve suffered from hypertension or high blood pressure, beaten cancer or given birth, suffer from diabetes or struggle with depression, Trump believes the protections for you in the Affordable Care Act should be gutted. We all know someone with a pre-existing condition, and we have to stand up for the protections that keep their access to health care safe and affordable.

In the court brief his administration filed just over one year ago today, Trump made clear he believes insurance companies should have the power to charge as much as they want and cover as little as they want. And later he went even further, pushing for the entire ACA to be overturned. Now if he gets his way, Trump’s health care overhaul would undo the expansion of Medicaid and give insurance companies the power to refuse coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

Trump’s lawsuit could devastate hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters. If it succeeds, protections for pre-existing conditions would be gutted, millions nationwide could see double-digit premium increases, Medicaid expansion would be eliminated and insurance companies would no longer have to cover drug costs.

As many as 597,000 people with pre-existing conditions in New Hampshire could have been denied coverage before these protections went into effect, and since the ACA was enacted, tens of thousands of people in New Hampshire who were previously uninsured have gained coverage. Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion provided coverage for 57,000 new adults in New Hampshire and provided an estimated 11,000individuals in our state with treatment for substance use disorders.

But Trump doesn’t care about fighting New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic or lowering our uninsured rate; he cares about lowering taxes for billionaires. He doesn’t care about fighting for Granite Staters’ access to quality health care; he cares about fighting for insurance companies’ profit margins.

Trump’s incessant attacks on Americans’ access to health care speak volumes about his misplaced priorities. In the year since he went to court to gut protections for pre-existing conditions, we’ve seen him attempt to strip Americans of their access to health care over and over again.

But that’s not all we saw. On Election Day 2018, voters across the country showed up to demand more access to health care, not less. Health care was the number one issue in the 2018 midterms, and voters mandated that Trump and Republicans stop their war on our health care.

And it’s not just Trump we have to worry about. In the face of policy after policy that hurts New Hampshire families, Chris Sununu said that he’s “a Trump guy through and through” and has failed to take action to protect the Affordable Care Act, even as 21 states, including four with Republican governors, have sued to keep this important law intact. The Granite State deserves a governor who will stand up to attacks on its families’ health care. We cannot afford to have our state’s leaders stand idly by while Trump rips apart our health care system and our families’ access to quality, affordable care is put on the chopping block.

Right now, all eyes are on New Hampshire. In 2020, this state will play a critical role in deciding whether Trump can continue to recklessly sabotage our families’ health care with another term in office. We have the power to hold Trump accountable.

(Dr. Don Kollisch lives in Hanover. Dr. Ken Dolkart lives in Grantham.)


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