After watching as Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm election largely on the issue of health care and their repeated attempts to destroy the Affordable Care Act and take health insurance away from tens of millions of Americans, President Donald Trump will make the issue a major focus next year, Reuters reports:
U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign believes he can turn Republicans’ biggest liability from last year’s congressional elections – the debate about the future of healthcare in America – into a winning issue for his reelection.
“The president has taken the issue back,” Tim Murtaugh, Trump’s campaign communications director, told Reuters in an interview. “(Democrats are) taking the Blue Cross (private insurance) card out of your wallet and making it worthless.”
Apparently, the Trump campaign is convinced that proposals such as Medicare for All will frighten moderate voters who are already worried about not having health insurance if they happen to lose their job.
Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan healthcare advocacy group, said universal health care might work to the detriment of Democrats:
“The polls show very clearly that the Democrats have a very substantial advantage on health and all the health issues,” Altman said. “If the Democrat is a candidate who is a big advocate for Medicare for All, it will play a little differently.”
However, Altman added that the fear of a Trump-GOP health care plan not covering pre-existing conditions may outweigh any skepticism over universal care:
Some voters will be leery of losing their private insurance, but Democrats are still likely to win over those concerned about pre-existing conditions and abortion access, Altman said.
The president has already hurt himself with statements and actions he’s taken that were not received well by the American electorate, AP notes:
The president already backed a proposal in Congress that would have reduced protections for pre-existing conditions – despite his continued insistence that he does not want to eliminate those rules. And he has proposed reductions to Medicaid and Medicare funding.
His campaign will be forced to navigate those decisions as well as dispel voters’ worry that Trump wants to gut the existing Obamacare framework with no effective replacement.
In response to those facts, Murtaugh tried to suggest that Democrats in Congress only want to impeach the president:
“The big conversation was about healthcare and what are they talking about? Impeachment. They won the election, but they haven’t done a damn thing with it.”
But they won the election. And they won it largely on the issue of health care. That doesn’t exactly bolster the Trump campaign’s argument that he’s the defender of people’s health.
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