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No, Republicans aren’t going after people with pre-existing conditions

SHARE No, Republicans aren’t going after people with pre-existing conditions

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on the Coronavirus with health care company leaders, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Washington.

Evan Vucci, Associated Press

Republicans are commonly attacked for not caring about Americans with preexisting health conditions. As Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., noted: “If you have a preexisting condition — heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer — they’re coming for you. If you love someone who has a preexisting condition, they’re coming for you.” Even Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is not immune, with constant questioning over her commitment to millions of Americans with preexisting conditions.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’m a doctor, and here are the facts: All current Republican health care plans have guaranteed protections for Americans with preexisting conditions. The Trump administration has repeatedly echoed that sentiment, with President Trump supporting the most vulnerable among us. In fact, I stood next to President Trump in North Carolina last month, when he signed an executive order confirming that Americans with preexisting conditions are protected. After meeting him, I believe that President Trump will keep his promise. 

Of course, the status quo simply does not work for many Americans, and President Trump agrees. The cost of medical care continues to rise under Obamacare. The U.S. spends more on health care than any other developed country. At the same time, not all Americans have the luxury of health insurance. More than 27 million Americans are uninsured, and that number is only rising. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over five million Americans have lost their health insurance because of sudden unemployment.

With health insurance often tied to an employer, the state of the economy takes on outsized importance. When a recession comes, the number of uninsured people is bound to rise. Instead, health plans should be portable — more akin to life or auto insurance.

Democrats often argue repealing Obamacare would be Armageddon, but that’s not the case. For example, Joe Biden has claimed that 100 million Americans will lose their health insurance if Obamacare is dismantled, blaming President Trump for putting millions of lives in jeopardy. Yet only 2.7% of Americans with preexisting conditions actually gained access to health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Don’t believe me? That’s according to the Obama administration. 

The facts matter. Republicans do have viable plans for health care reform. I have seen them personally, and I have met with countless Republicans in Washington, D.C., to discuss them. The Republican Party’s goal is to empower the individual, making patients the top priority rather than hospitals, insurance companies, or the pharmaceutical industry. President Trump’s “America First Healthcare Plan,” for instance, would guarantee patients more choices by promoting competition — a mechanism that works in every other sector of the economy. There’s no reason it won’t work with health care.

Based on my experiences, patients aren’t asking for the world. They just want to choose the health insurance that works best for them, knowing that each and every case is different. They want to keep their doctors. They want to cut out government bureaucrats and middlemen who only raise costs. They want medical care to be affordable, without sacrificing quality. 

President Trump is on the same page. Republicans are working diligently to make health care reform a reality, despite Democratic obstructionism. Don’t believe the naysayers; we are making progress.

Mary Tipton is an internal medicine and pediatric specialist in South Jordan, Utah, and a member of the Job Creators Network.