WASHINGTON, DC (Rueters) — In December, 2016, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that more than 11 million people had purchased private health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Now, three plus years after President Trump took office, Kaiser is reporting that 30 million people have lost their insurance. What happened?
One of the first moves of the Republican Congress was to get rid of the ACA requirement that insurers provide certain benefits such as mental-health services and maternity care, saying those requirements drove up premiums.
Since the crash of the health care insurance industry, premiums are no longer a problem.
Studies have shown that since the ACA was gutted by a male president and mostly-male congress, women have suffered the most from its loss. There’s been a sharp increase in abortions, and the U.S. — already one of the international leaders in infant mortality — is now number one on that list.
There’s been an increase in deaths from certain types of cancer that mostly affect women, like breast and uterine cancer. By the time women seek treatment, it’s already too late. Planned Parenthood has been made to close an alarmingly large amount of clinics, both before and after Trump took office. The corresponding explosion of sexually-transmitted diseases, including AIDS, is unsurprising and was expected by most experts.
Mental health clinics, already poorly funded, have also been closing left and right since Trump’s inauguration. The suicide rate has mostly increased every year, but since 2017, it has skyrocketed, finally forcing the CDC to consider suicide as a threat to public health. Rates for depression, addiction, and crime have also increased. After 8 years of an unemployment rate that only went down, it started creeping back up again in the early part of 2018, and is still increasing.
Another idea supported by the Republican Congress was health savings accounts, but it didn’t take long for HSAs to fall out of favor after China Bank & Trust was found guilty of bankrupting around a million of these accounts held by Americans. The Russian Gold Bank was found to have only bankrupted about 1,000 American health savings accounts. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau discovered these criminal actions before Republicans closed it down, the information only coming to light this year through anonymous internet sources.
Almost everyone (with the exception of state insurance commissioners) thought that selling health care insurance across state lines would be beneficial to consumers, but a recent study by Harvard University showed that the majority of consumers were actually harmed by the proliferation of fly-by-night insurance companies created by this new market. Customers often bought insurance from companies that only existed on the internet, and many people were dumped as soon as they filed a claim.
The health care insurance industry was able to withstand these changes, only falling apart in 2018 after Republicans cut the taxes which funded the ACA. Doctors began to only accept insurance from well-known companies, leaving millions of people unable to find a doctor, even with insurance. Then the largest corporations stopped selling health care insurance altogether.
After the collapse of the health care insurance industry in early 2019, medical costs have started to decline. When it’s too expensive to go to the doctor, you just don’t go. Doctors are now advertising on Craig’s List and Tinder, many offering free introductory visits. After a slew of busy years for hospitals and mergers, three years after Trump became President, there are now 40% fewer hospitals in the U.S.
After President Trump ended the drug war last month, experts have predicted a similar collapse of the medical industry. Only time will tell.