I remember it like it was yesterday: my mom telling me and my little sisters that we were going to have to make it on our own. A newly single mother in a small Texas town would have to figure out how to feed, clothe and house three little girls—immediately. She made it work, because she is a warrior, and because she had to. Her love and perseverance got us our education, our meals and a roof over our heads. Forty years later, one daughter is a college professor, another is a public school principal and one works for a United States president. I speak for all three of us when I say we owe her everything.
But not even my mother’s hard work, dedication and persistence could get us the health insurance we needed. It was just too expensive.
American health care then, in the 1980s, was already broken and out of reach for too many working families. In the decades since, it has only gotten worse. The major driver of spiraling costs and diminished coverage has been Washington, D.C., which made things worse with nearly every “reform.” The system bottomed out with Obamacare’s passage. In the past decade, the Affordable Care Act has proven to be exactly the opposite of its name—and American families know it all too well.
Fortunately, so does President Trump. From day one, President Trump has fought bureaucracy and special interests to bring higher-quality, lower-cost health care options to every American. At the core of his vision is a simple proposition: Americans, not government, ought to control their health care.
Thanks to President Trump’s strong leadership over the past four years, we have made remarkable progress. Americans saw prescription drug prices decline for the first time in nearly 50 years, while Medicare Advantage premiums decreased by 34 percent since 2017, Medicare prescription drug premiums decreased by 12 percent since 2017, Congress repealed the individual mandate penalty and much more.
The president’s America First Healthcare Plan, unveiled last month, builds on these remarkable accomplishments to provide more choice, lower costs and better care for all Americans—not just the few enrolled in Obamacare. In his plan, President Trump makes 12 commitments to the American people to continue to deliver results and put them back in charge of their health care. This includes always protecting pre-existing conditions, ending surprise billing, further lowering drug prices, expanding telehealth and requiring hospitals and insurance companies to share prices with patients before they receive care.
With much of the recent national dialogue centered on the Supreme Court and the upcoming third challenge to the constitutionality of Obamacare, Americans can look to the president’s recent executive order on an America-First Healthcare Plan as a demonstration of his commitment to always protect people with pre-existing conditions. Obamacare is projected to spend $1.8 trillion in taxpayer dollars over 10 years, paying insurance companies directly to cover people who, in many cases, already had insurance prior to the law’s passage. If the law is struck down, the president will work with Congress to reallocate funds much more efficiently to ensure individuals with pre-existing conditions are always covered and provide assistance to those who otherwise cannot afford coverage.
And while Democrats use every platform—from the debate stage to the campaign trail to the Senate Judiciary hearing room—to defend Obamacare, Americans should recall that Obamacare was a litany of broken promises. Many were not able to keep their doctor, did not get to keep their plan, and did not get lower premiums. Instead, some Obamacare Exchange Plans had one-third fewer providers than the average commercial plans, millions of Americans had their health insurance plans canceled and premiums doubled between 2013 and 2017. These aren’t dry actuarial facts. Each broken promise carries stories too numerous to count about individuals and families across the country facing impossible decisions, like choosing between paying the hospital and paying the mortgage.
Ask me what that’s like. Ask my mother. Ask any mother or father in those same straits. Ask Harry Stathopoulos, the father of Julia, a young woman with Freeman-Sheldon syndrome, a rare muscle and bone disorder, whose story President Trump shared during his speech on September 24. The family faced a threefold increase in monthly premiums after Obamacare passed and soon was paying $36,000 annually for premiums alone. At one point, Harry and his wife even had had to go without health insurance just to afford coverage for their children.
The Stathopoulos family represents the Americans we are fighting for—and before President Trump, they were exactly the Americans that Washington-knows-best policy routinely hurt.
President Trump’s America First Healthcare Plan puts patients and doctors—not politicians and bureaucrats—back in charge of health care. It is a unifying vision and a call to make America’s health care system deliver more choice, lower costs, and better care. It’s exactly what struggling American families, like ours back in the day, need—and they’re exactly who President Trump is fighting for every day.
Brooke Rollins is acting director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.
Does President Trump Have a Plan for Health Care? Yes | Opinion Wire Services/ Newsweek.