I remember it like it was yesterday: My mother told me and my little sisters that we had to make it on our own. A newly single mother in a small Texas town would immediately have to think about how to feed, clothe and house three little girls. She did it because she is a warrior and because she had to. Her love and persistence provided us with our education, our meals and a roof over our heads. Forty years later, one daughter is a college professor, another is the principal of a public school, and one works for a president of the United States. I speak for all three of us when I say that we owe her everything.
But not even my mother’s hard work, dedication and perseverance could get us the health insurance we needed. It was simply too expensive.
By the 1980s, the American health care system was already broken and out of reach for too many working families. In the decades that followed, it only got worse. The main cause of the cost spiral and the decline in insurance coverage was Washington, D.C., which worsened with almost every “reform”. With Obamacare’s passage, the system reached its lowest point. Over the past decade, the Affordable Care Act has proven to be the exact opposite of its name – and American families know it all too well.
Fortunately, President Trump knows this too. From day one, President Trump has fought against bureaucracy and special interests to provide every American with higher quality and more affordable health care options. At the heart of his vision is a simple proposal: Americans, not the government, should 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 fall for the first time in nearly 50 years, while Medicare Advantage premiums fell 34 percent since 2017, Medicare prescription drug premiums fell 12 percent since 2017, Congress lifted the individual mandate penalty, and much more.
The President’s America First Healthcare Plan, unveiled last month, builds on these remarkable achievements 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 a 12-point commitment to the American people to continue to deliver results and restore responsibility for their healthcare. These include always protecting pre-existing conditions, ending surprise bills, further reducing drug prices, expanding telemedicine and requiring hospitals and insurance companies to share prices with patients before they receive care.
As much of the recent national dialogue has focused on the Supreme Court and the upcoming third challenge to the constitutionality of Obamacare, Americans can view the president’s recent executive order for an America-First Healthcare Plan as a demonstration of his commitment to always protect people with pre-existing conditions. Obamacare is expected to spend $1.8 trillion of taxpayers’ money over a 10-year period, paid directly to insurance companies to cover people who in many cases were already insured before the bill was passed. If the bill is repealed, the President will work with Congress to redistribute the funds much more efficiently, to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions are always covered, and to help those who cannot otherwise afford insurance.
And while the Democrats use every platform – from the debate to the campaign to the Senate Judiciary hearings – to defend Obamacare, Americans should remember that Obamacare was a litany of broken promises. Many were not able to keep their doctor, could not keep their plan and did not get lower premiums. Instead, some Obamacare exchange plans had a third fewer providers than the average commercial plan, millions of Americans had their health insurance terminated and premiums doubled between 2013 and 2017. These are not dry actuarial facts. Every broken promise holds stories too numerous to list, about individuals and families across the country faced with impossible choices, such as choosing between paying the hospital and paying the mortgage.
Ask me what that feels like. Ask my mother. Ask any mother or father in the same predicament. Ask Harry Stathopoulos, the father of Julia, a young woman with Freeman Sheldon Syndrome, a rare muscle and bone disease whose story President Trump told during his speech on September 24. After the death of Obamacare, the family faced a tripling of monthly premiums and soon paid $36,000 a year in premiums alone. At some point, Harry and his wife even had to give up health insurance just to be able to afford coverage for their children.
The Stathopoulos family represents the Americans we fight for-and before President Trump, it was the very Americans who routinely violated Washington’s best policies, as we know.
President Trump’s America First Healthcare Plan puts patients and doctors – not politicians and bureaucrats – back in charge of healthcare. It is a unifying vision and a call to move the American healthcare system toward more choice, lower costs and better care. This is exactly what struggling American families, like ours at the time, need-and it’s what President Trump fights for every day.
Brooke Rollins is Acting Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.
The views expressed in this article are her own….