Trump: “Obamacare is finished, it’s dead, it’s gone..You shouldn’t even mention it. It’s gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore” pic.twitter.com/sAkylaXPlA
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) October 16, 2017
President Donald Trump is intent on making sure today’s news cycle heavily features President Donald Trump.
In a press briefing earlier this morning, Trump repeatedly claimed Obamacare no longer exists.
While sitting next to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, President Trump fielded a question from a reporter about the Affordable Care Act, colloquially referred to as Obamacare, and his administration’s attempts to repeal and replace the landmark health care overhaul signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010.
Trump declined to answer the question directly–the reference alone was enough to set the president off. Rather than answering the question, Trump blasted his predecessor’s trademark domestic accomplishment, saying:
Obamacare is finished, it’s dead, it’s gone. It’s no longer–don’t–you shouldn’t even mention it. It’s gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore. It is a–and I said this years ago–it’s a concept that couldn’t have worked. In its best days it couldn’t have worked.
Both Obamacare and many of those who receive certain health care benefits through the law are expected to fare poorly in the coming months as Trump has recently–and abruptly–decided to axe federal subsidies paid out to health insurance companies. Those subsidies are considered a key component of Obamacare as they allow many people to obtain health care plans they couldn’t otherwise afford.
In a statement issued late Thursday, October 12, the White House said:
Based on guidance from the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that there is no appropriation for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies under Obamacare. In light of this analysis, the Government cannot lawfully make the cost-sharing reduction payments. The United States House of Representatives sued the previous administration in Federal court for making these payments without such an appropriation, and the court agreed that the payments were not lawful. The bailout of insurance companies through these unlawful payments is yet another example of how the previous administration abused taxpayer dollars and skirted the law to prop up a broken system. Congress needs to repeal and replace the disastrous Obamacare law and provide real relief to the American people.
Also on Thursday, Trump issued an executive order aimed at increasing competition amongst insurance companies with the intent of benefitting consumers.
Both of the president’s actions are major tweaks to Obamacare. His comments this morning may be a reference to those recent actions. Or his comments may simply reflect Trump’s long-standing belief that Obama’s signature health care law is not long for this earth–and his own attempts to make sure Obamacare lives as short a life as possible.
In any event, despite the president’s insistence that Obamacare is dead and gone, the law is still in effect. Open enrollment begins November 1 and ends December 15.
[image via screengrab; video courtesy Buzzfeed News/Twitter/MSNBC]