For the beneficiaries, losing Obamacare would truly suck

Donald Trump last week posted an item on Truth Social that broke new ground for incoherence. What got his fingers fumbling on the keyboard was Joe Biden’s being out in the country warning Americans that another presidential term for Trump would cost them their health care.

Trump wrote, “I’m not running to terminate the ACA, AS CROOKED JOE BUDEN DISINFORMATES AND MISINFORMATES ALL THE TIME,” adding that he would make Obamacare “MUCH BETTER, STRONGER, AND FAR LESS EXPENSIVE.”

That’s what Trump said during the 2016 presidential campaign, albeit employing a better organized train of thought. He vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare with “something terrific.”

He got elected without ever having to share details of a plan. And once elected, he tried to bulldoze the Affordable Care Act, first by removing bolts from the system for funding it. Then in 2017, he worked with congressional Republicans on a bill that would have left an additional 22 million Americans uninsured by 2026 and end protections for people with preexisting conditions.

The bill came within a hair of passing. Only a single “no” vote by Sen. John McCain stopped Obamacare from freefall. Recall that beautiful photo of the Arizona Republican on the Senate floor pointing his thumb down.

Needless to say, Trump had no terrific replacement for Obamacare. Actually, he had no replacement at all.

The Biden campaign barely broke a sweat mocking Trump’s recent post. It let Trump do the work by providing a video medley of his colorful threats against the ACA.

“I told the Republicans, look, if you really want to do something, just let it explode,” was one. “Obamacare is a disaster,” he bellowed.

At a recent campaign rally in Fountain Hills, Ariz., he hollered, “We’re gonna win by knocking the hell out of Obamacare, terminating it, coming up with something much less expensive, much better.” Interestingly, those last remarks, though delivered with Trumpian ferocity, drew the faintest of cheers.

“Obamacare Sucks!!!” he posted right after last Thanksgiving, in case you didn’t get the message.

For the record, 45 million Americans now have health coverage under the ACA. Republican foes of Obamacare have dropped their previous insistence that it would be a job killer. Unemployment has been below 4% for the last 25 months, a job performance not seen since the 1960s.

And no, the cost of Obamacare is not out of control. On the contrary, it’s credited with slowing health care inflation.

The tiniest of violins are being played for Republicans who voted in 2017 to ditch Obamacare and now worry that voters might not approve. One is Sen. Mike Rounds, a South Dakota Republican. “We most certainly can do a better job,” Rounds recently wrote, “but it would require us to start proposing what the change would be now so that we wouldn’t be in a position of repealing without having a better replacement.”

As for Trump, if he wins a second term, he would not be running again (we assume). Thus, he could take away the health coverage for millions with nothing politically to lose. And if Rounds and his Republican colleagues lose reelection as a result, he would lose not a wink.

Happy 14th anniversary, Obamacare. You have guaranteed 230 million Americans free preventive care. You capped out-of-pocket spending in the Marketplace plans. You have improved the quality of coverage offered. You have vastly expanded community health services. Most importantly, you have brought the percentage of Americans lacking health coverage to an all-time low.

May you and the Americans you have kept healthy and alive have many more years together. There’s a lot at stake this November for your beneficiaries. Losing Obamacare would truly suck.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com.