Graphic by Ellen O'Donnell, Graphics Manager
On March 2, GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump released the healthcare reform plan that he would initiate if he were to become president. It is an incredibly vague, seven-point plan officially named “Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again” (at this point, any policy without the phrase “Make America Great Again” would just seem inappropriate and out of character). Unsurprisingly, this “reform” would involve the immediate repeal of Obamacare, which would result in the most devastating chaos that the sphere of medical management has ever seen.
During the summer of 2014, I spent several weeks going door-to-door with an organization called Enroll America to educate my fellow citizens about their healthcare opportunities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. During that time, I heard stories of the disastrous effects that being uninsured can have on lower-middle class families who cannot afford the exorbitant hospital bills that accompany emergency medical care.
According to The Hill approximately 17.6 million Americans have gained previously unattainable access to affordable healthcare under the ACA. If we were to remove Obamacare from the healthcare system, millions of people would lose their policies. One of the most crucial and effective aspects of Obamacare is the law ensuring that health insurance agencies must provide plans to people with pre-existing conditions, prohibiting the increase of premiums on the basis of gender or current health status.
Trump states that the “Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again” will “not allow people to die on the sidewalks,” insisting that “everybody’s got to be covered.” To a large extent, I completely agree with those two propositions, disregarding the context in which they were said. In part three of the healthcare reform’s process of introduction, Trump states the main objective of the plan: “As we allow the free market to provide insurance coverage opportunities to companies and individuals, we must also make sure that no one slips through the cracks simply because they cannot afford insurance.”
As honorable and surprisingly empathetic as this statement is, the first and second halves of the sentence directly contradict one another. In fact, Obamacare and any other federal healthcare plan is an adjustment made by the government to accommodate those who are marginalized by the free market healthcare industry. Obamacare proposed a requirement for universal healthcare while simultaneously restricting health insurance agencies in an effort to prevent corruption and exclusion within the market. If Trump were to repeal Obamacare and institute a reform plan, it would eliminate those restrictions, leaving healthcare agencies free to choose who they insure. This would leave millions of exploited Americans uninsured and helpless.
Trump has reaped every benefit of the exploitation of marginalized individuals, a disenfranchisement that is in the nature of a capitalist society. Removing an individual’s right to healthcare and replacing it with a “reform” plan that only promises to prevent people from “dying on the streets” is wildly ironic. The victims of such a reform plan are those who have already been exploited within a system that allowed Trump to become the multi-billionaire that he is today.