I’m a Doctor, and Trump’s Playing a Deadly Game with Your Health Care



By Rita Simon, M.D.

April 20, 2020

Wisconsin physician says rejecting a special enrollment period to get ACA coverage is mindlessly partisan

This is not a drill. This is not a game. The last thing this should be is politics-as-usual. This is life and death.

From the very beginning of this administration, Donald Trump has led an unrelenting assault on America’s health care. Each day the coronavirus crisis spreads and America’s communities are devastated by its effects. Yet Trump and his Republican allies continue their mindlessly partisan march against Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and America’s health care.

Fresh evidence of this attack was on display earlier this month when Trump personally rejected an emergency Special Enrollment Period for ACA marketplace coverage as families struggle with coronavirus. As the coronavirus frantically spreads throughout America, the most imperative matter is to get people covered, yet Trump is taking us in the opposite direction.  

In recent weeks, multiple press reports indicated the federal government would open an emergency enrollment period in the majority of states where it controls the marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, but Trump personally intervened to block that lifeline to people who have been left behind by the system.

That decision shocked not only public health advocates but industry leaders themselves, and it left the White House scrambling for some half-baked proposals to fill the void. For example, the disease-specific hospital reimbursement scheme makes no sense. If I need to go to the hospital for coronavirus and on my way there, I trip and fall and bust my head open, that’s not covered. If I need to see my doctor for a follow-up, that’s not covered. How silly.

There’s no question that Trump’s failed leadership has severely worsened the effects of the coronavirus pandemic here in America. Both the COVID-19 crisis and the economic calamity it spawned lie at the feet of this president. It’s well-documented that Trump’s idea of leadership is to downplay, distract, cover up and then blame someone else. Even in the face of the current crisis, Trump is so hellbent to destroy Obamacare, he refuses to let people get the coverage they need to protect their families from this killer virus.

Why is Trump doing this?  No one should be surprised when you consider the actions of this administration. First, he tried to undermine the ACA by executive order. Then, he led his lemmings in Congress to try to pass a legislative bill to repeal it. Thankfully, the late John McCain showed true leadership with his late night thumbs-down vote to stop that awful bill.

Yet to this day, amid the coronavirus crisis and the economic meltdown, Trump’s war on American health care continues. Since the defeat of the ACA repeal legislation, Trump and the Republicans have sought to overturn the health care law through the courts. This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in a Trump-backed lawsuit to throw out the entire law, putting coverage for millions of Americans at risk as well as protections for the 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.  

At the same time, the markets are being flooded with junk plans that could dupe unsuspecting people into buying a product that could leave them high and dry when it comes time to file a claim for coronavirus treatment. It’s snakeoil, plain and simple.

Obamacare could still be a lifeline for out-of-work Wisconsinites, yet the Trump administration won’t let it be. Trump’s failure of leadership on this important matter is cruel. I urge my fellow Wisconsinites to contact our federal elected officials and tell them we need a special enrollment period now.



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