The Risk of Ending Obamacare During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Obamacare Affordable Care BELatina

In the midst of a public health crisis that has demonstrated the inefficiency of the private health care system, the Trump administration insists on ending the only semi-private health care program accessible to Americans.

The coronavirus pandemic has only made matters worse in a country with deep economic and social rifts, putting millions of Americans on unemployment lists and thus without the resources to pay for health insurance.

The New York Times explained that the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, is offering the vast majority of the nation’s new unemployed “a path to stopgap health coverage,” providing an economic advantage for those who often find themselves torn between their medical bills and their rent.

Even in these dire circumstances, the Trump administration and the Republican Party continue to insist on dismantling the program, introducing a midnight brief last Thursday asking the Supreme Court to overturn the law.

Although the Court will not rule on the matter before the presidential election, it is a disturbing and deeply symbolic obstacle, and one that reveals the true priorities of the government and its party.

“This is the first test of the A.C.A. in an economic downturn,” said Peter V. Lee, the executive director of Covered California, the state’s insurance marketplace created under the law, to the Times. “But it’s not just a test it’s a national study of what happens in states that implemented the A.C.A. as opposed to those that didn’t.”

Similarly, the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health research group, explained that four out of five people who have lost employer-provided health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic “are eligible for free coverage through expanded Medicaid programs or government-subsidized private insurance.

Since the Obama administration approved the ACA a decade ago, the GOP has been obsessed with rescinding it, and its decision to support the government’s application to the Supreme Court seems a risky bet considering the profound impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the country and the government’s negligence in dealing with it.

This Republican effort, CNN said, “has never appeared more out of touch and tone deaf” than in a period when more than 125,000 Americans have died and more than 2.4 million have been infected with the new virus.

While the Democrats have taken advantage of the opportunity to campaign on this issue, especially considering the fact that their presidential candidate was the vice president of the administration that approved the law, the politicization of an issue so critical to the population once again demonstrates the fractures in the national political system.