During the State of the Union address tonight, President Donald Trump is sure to claim credit on a wide range of topics. Unfortunately, those claims are not likely to be rooted in reality, particularly on health care. Chances are, Trump will not propose any new policies to lower health care costs or expand coverage for Wisconsinites. Instead, he will likely just repeat his lies and false promises on the most important issue facing families, health care, just as he has been doing for years now.
Trump and his team know they are in deep trouble when it comes to healthcare this year. Earlier this month, Trump lashed out at his own HHS Secretary because of polling showing that the administration’s health care policies are wildly unpopular among voters. He seems to be frustrated to the point where he will say virtually anything, even though he has proven time and time again that he will not do what Wisconsinites want when it comes to actually addressing health care challenges.
Since Trump took office, there has been a huge spike in drug prices. His response? Give drug companies billions of dollars in tax breaks and oppose giving Medicare the authority to negotiate lower drug prices – the most effective solution to this problem. Though Trump has stated that “drug prices are coming down, first time in 51 years because of my administration,” the truth is that drug companies have continued to consistently raise their prices and reap massive profits throughout his presidential term.
In response, Democrats have drafted ambitious bills to try and lower drug costs. The president first praised, then opposed, the bills, leaving them stuck with no GOP support. Meanwhile, President Trump has repeatedly talked about lowering drug prices by tying drug costs in the U.S. to drug costs in other countries, which independent experts say would be ineffective.
On top of Trump’s refusal to lower drug prices, his administration and its Republican allies continue to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After trying, and failing, to repeal the ACA through the legislative process numerous times, Republicans are now focused on an ongoing federal lawsuit to overturn the landmark health care law. If the lawsuit is successful, 20 million Americans could lose their health insurance, and 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions could lose access to care. Incredibly, Trump still has the audacity to claim he “saved” protections for those with pre-existing conditions, despite boasting about how his lawsuit would “terminate” the ACA and its consumer protections.
As the partisan lawsuit to overturn the ACA has made its way through the courts, Trump has found other ways to undermine Americans’ health care. His administration championed junk insurance plans, claiming that they would expand coverage to more people. In reality, those plans allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Expanding junk plans does nothing but harm Americans with pre-existing conditions who desperately need comprehensive coverage – something that Trump and Republicans know quite well.
These attacks on American with pre-existing conditions and blatant lies about it prove that the President cannot be trusted on healthcare. But that’s not all: though Trump has promised that he and Republicans will “stand for protecting Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid,” just this month he signaled he will put slashing benefits for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security on the table in 2020 if re-elected.
Trump promised that his health care plan would cover everyone and claimed he is “far better” on health care than Democrats. But under his administration, attacks on the ACA have left 7 million Americans uninsured. Despite his many promises to release a “phenomenal” health care plan, he has yet to produce one. Polling has indicated that health care is a major topic of concern among voters and have also shown that Americans trust Democrats more than Republicans when it comes to devising healthcare plans.
The president may use the State of the Union Address to talk a big game, but the evidence is clear, we simply can’t trust what he says or that he will actually do what is necessary to protect health care.