Citizens of the United States: You’ve been Hoodwinked

Remember that giant fight to preserve the Affordable Care Act from earlier this year? Where comedians weighed in with emotional appeals, mass protests led to mass arrests, politicians who voted against it were cheered by their constituents?

President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed the Republican tax overhaul has “essentially repealed Obamacare” but said officials “didn’t want to bring it up” until the legislation had already passed.

The individual mandate is being repealed. When the individual mandate is being repealed, that means Obamacare is being repealed because they get their money from the individual mandate,” Trump said at the start of a cabinet meeting.

He said the tax bill has “essentially repealed Obamacare,” though the legislation has eliminated a key provision of the health care law but not repealed it entirely, and claimed Republicans will come up with something that will be much better, whether it’s block grants or whether it’s taking what we have and doing something terrific.”

“We didn’t want to bring it up. I told people specifically, ‘Be quiet with the fake news media because I don’t want them talking too much about it,’” Trump said. “Because I didn’t know how people would — but now that it’s approved I can say the individual mandate on health care, where you had to pay not to have insurance, okay, think of that one, you pay not to have insurance. The individual mandate has been repealed.”

Emphasis mine. Taken at face value, Trump is claiming he deliberately hid his latest attempt to take away your health care away in a tax bill that primarily benefits wealthy donors to the Republican party, and with the help of Republicans managed to pull it off. That’s remarkably cruel.

It’s also untrue, as is usual for Trump.

Contrary to a statement that President Trump made Wednesday, nixing Obamacare’s individual mandate does not mean that Obamacare has been repealed in the GOP tax bill. The individual mandate, which requires most Americans (other than those who qualify for a hardship exemption) to carry a minimum level of health coverage, is actually still in effect for 2018—meaning that you may have to pay a steep tax fine if you don’t have health insurance, for one thing. And even after the individual mandate repeal goes into effect the following year, Obamacare’s individual insurance markets, federal subsidies to help Americans pay monthly insurance premiums, and Medicaid expansion in the dozens of states that implemented it will all still be in effect barring further Congressional action. […]

Ultimately, repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate would cause 13 million fewer Americans to be insured in 2027 compared with current law, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Healthier and wealthier people may choose to forgo coverage, and even poorer, medically needy people may not sign up for insurance because they don’t know which options are available and there may not be the same sense of urgency to enroll without the mandate. The CBO also predicts that premiums in the markets would spike 10% without Obamacare’s individual mandate as the exchanges are left with a sicker consumer pool. However, for most Obamacare enrollees (those making between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level), an accompanying increase in federal subsidies will make up for higher premiums. Those making above that income level (about $48,000 for an individual or $98,000 for a family of four) will have to face the brunt of premium increases, though.

So in reality, repealing the individual mandate will either raise your health insurance or increase government spending. The latter might get solved with a tax hike or legislation which passes the cost back to you. All this was done so Republicans could lick Trump’s boots as they celebrate a windfall for millionaires, break promises to shore up health care, and pretend the hasty process hasn’t created a future shitstorm.

I hope to hell you aren’t gonna take that lying down, no matter what side of the political aisle you’re on.