By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Republicans say the Affordable Care Act provides health insurance that manages to be both lousy and expensive. Whatever the flaws of these policies, the new Trump administration is trying to pull off a con by offering Americans coverage that is likely to be so much worse that it would barely deserve the name insurance. It would also leave many millions without the medical care they need.
This reality became increasingly clear when President Trump’s choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, testified before a Senate committee last week. He looked pained as he described the terrible predicament of people who earned around $30,000 to $50,000 a year and had to deny “themselves the kind of care that they need” because they had Obamacare policies with deductibles of $6,000 to $12,000. Yet, earlier in the same hearing, Mr. Price extolled the virtues of policies that would be woefully inadequate — policies that cover medical treatment only in catastrophic cases. Such policies often have deductibles of around $14,000 for family coverage. This is simple hypocrisy. Condemn the policy you don’t like, propose something far worse as a replacement and claim that it is much better.
Mr. Price and Mr. Trump have recently said that their goal is to offer health care to many more people than are covered by the current health care law, which has driven the uninsured rate to historic lows. Mr. Trump went so far as to say he would provide “insurance for everybody” — something his press secretary, Sean Spicer, later walked back. But Mr. Price’s testimony and the legislation he introduced in the House, where until recently he was the Budget Committee chairman, show that the new administration will make decent health care less affordable and less accessible for most people. And Mr. Trump was already trying to undo parts of the A.C.A. through an executive order on Friday, just hours after being sworn in.
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