EDITORIAL:

Crusade against ACA shows voters how little GOP cares about them

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U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service via AP

This file image provided by U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service shows the website for HealthCare.gov.

A new analysis shows that more than 300,000 Nevadans and 23 million other Americans rely on the Affordable Care Act for their health care coverage. Elsewhere, a government report showed that nearly a half-million Americans turned to the ACA for coverage after losing their health care plans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

And yet President Donald Trump and Republican leaders continue to pound away at the ACA. The most recent attack came last week when the Trump administration sent a brief to the Supreme Court siding with a group of Republican attorneys general trying to overturn it.

There’s no other way to read the actions of Trump and the GOP than this:

They’re determined to make us sicker, see us die younger, keep us poorer because of hospital bills and leave our children hopeless if anyone in their family falls ill.

And make no mistake, eliminating the ACA would create problems that would hurt all of us, not just those receiving coverage under the act.

Axing it would make it nearly impossible for the bulk of ACA participants to obtain adequate and affordable private plans at a time when most of them are suffering amid an economic crisis of staggering proportions. And with that lifeline cut, it would leave those vulnerable Americans practically defenseless.

But the effects extend to public health and the entire health care system. Without the ACA, those millions of Americans would be deterred from getting preventive health care that could keep them out of hospitals, which would eat up capacity at a time when it’s desperately needed. It would create more strain on public or nonprofit health services that are already swamped.

The scale and scope of Trump’s cruelty on this are breathtaking: In Nevada, those receiving ACA coverage make up about one-tenth of the population. They include our grandparents, our neighbors, our fellow congregants at our houses of worship. They’re vulnerable children who happened to be born to lower-income families. They’re working adults and heads of families who can’t get good plans from their employers.

Eliminating the program at this point is just shy of kicking the plugs out of life-support machines.

Where would these people turn if Trump succeeds in killing the ACA? Trump and the GOP keep promising an alternative, but never deliver.

And while Trump keeps claiming he wants to protect coverage for those with preexisting conditions, he and his Justice Department took the exact opposite opinion in their filing to the Supreme Court. They want the entire ACA demolished.

So let’s call Trump’s claim about preexisting conditions what it is: a bald-faced lie to his followers.

As highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis, when we’re all potential patients, America needs health care for everyone. But denial of coverage has been a decades-long crusade by the GOP. And even once they failed and the ACA was delivered to keep Americans healthier and more prosperous, the Republicans immediately went back to trying to make us sick again.

Now comes Trump’s latest broadside against the ACA, a catastrophe in the making.

The good news for Southern Nevadans is that our congressional and state leaders are fighting any and all efforts to erode or eliminate the ACA. They’re galvanized against Trump and the Republicans, opposing them in the courts and in legislative bodies.

“We should be building on the Affordable Care Act to lower health costs, not ripping away every last benefit and protection that the law provides in the middle of a pandemic,” Rep. Steven Horsford said.

Well said.

In November, Nevadans can play a deciding role in the fight by voting out Trump and the Republicans who want to sever the ACA lifeline. Until then, we can help protect our neighbors and ourselves by supporting our leaders in their effort to fend off Trump.

The GOP poses a direct threat to the health and welfare of 309,000 Nevadans. It must be stopped.