There’s an old saying that “talk is cheap.” When it comes to our healthcare, President Trump’s and Senator Joni Ernst’s past and current actions are much more indicative of their positions than what they are saying.
In fact, the President’s 2021 budget blueprint reprises the same harmful proposals we’ve seen in previous budgets, doubling down on policies that cut healthcare and services for the people who need them most including low-wage workers, people with disabilities, veterans and many others.
Although the President has repeatedly claimed that health care access and affordability has improved under his leadership, the truth is that premiums have soared since he took office and the number of uninsured people because of his actions, particularly changes to Medicaid.
Medicaid is essential to the well-being of millions of families. More than 1 in 5 Americans rely on Medicaid for health insurance, from infants to seniors. In Iowa alone, nearly 600 thousand citizens depend on Medicaid for their health care in some way.
Medicaid is one of the most successful health care programs in the nation’s history. Research shows that Medicaid saves lives. Although then State Senator Joni Ernst opposed it, Iowa’s decision to participate in the Medicaid expansion of 2013 not only provided health insurance coverage to tens of thousands of low-wage workers, but also provided an enormous boost to the state’s economy. This success, however, was followed by a succession of frustrations brought on when then Governor Terry Branstad unilaterally privatized Medicaid in 2016.
Proponents of privatization, including Governor Reynolds and Republican legislators claimed it would save money and make people healthier. That is not the case. Branstad had predicted that the switch to private companies would save taxpayers $232 million per year. But in 2018, Republican State Auditor Mary Mosiman, found the state only realized about half of Branstad’s promised savings.
And now the President, along with Senator Ernst, are calling for dramatic cuts to Medicaid. This puts Iowan’s health care at risk and would drain money from our state’s budget, forcing further cuts in programs and services.
And the budget isn’t our own worry: Trump’s administration recently proposed radically altering Medicaid by changing it into a block grant program that will potentially impact millions of people. While traditionally, Medicaid has covered all federally approved prescription drugs, this new proposal will allow states to limit access to prescription drugs for most conditions. The proposal would also allow states to dramatically increase costs to patients by raising co-pays and even eliminating benefits that Medicaid patients currently have.
To make matters worse, Trump is again including repeal of the Affordable Care Act in the budget. That would take health care away from 155,400 Iowans Enrolled Through Medicaid Expansion.
And then there is the supposed “support” for pre-existing condition protections, which affect over 1.25 million in Iowa alone. The many promises to protect Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security aren’t fooling anyone given a string of actions that would hurt millions.
Maybe Trump and Ernst think no one will notice that their promises don’t match up with their actions, but they are underestimating the average American. When it comes to health care, most of us are paying close attention and will take action to stop them from taking away our healthcare.
- Analysis of Trump budget proposal in 2018 (for FY 2019)
- Analysis of Trump budget proposal in 2019 (for FY 2020)
- Potential Impact of Trump Medicaid Block Grant Proposal
State and Local Information:
- General information about the ACA, Medicaid and Insurance
- State by state percentage of population with different types of insurance coverage, like Medicare, Medicaid or employer-sponsored insurance, and the percentage of each state’s uninsured
- The benefits of expanding Medicaid under the ACA
- State by State Fact Sheets on SNAP
- Factsheet on SNAP in Rural Areas