Another Trump term could devastate health care in America

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Millions have lost their insurance under Trump so far.

More than 2 million Americans lost their health coverage during Donald Trump's first three years in office, according to a new study from three top public health experts.

The researchers combed through Census data and other federal data for the study. They found that the number of uninsured Americans rose from 27.3 million in 2016 to 29.6 million in 2019 — a difference of 2.3 million people. Nearly one in ten Americans, or 9.2%, were uninsured as of last year, according to Census data.

The study's authors published their findings in the journal Health Affairs on Thursday, issuing a stark warning: "The life and health ramifications of this case — and of November's election — are enormous."

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The loss of coverage during Trump's first three years in office led to more than 25,000 Americans dying preventable deaths, the study found. These figures all come from before the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 228,000 Americans.

The study was conducted by three top public health experts: Dr. Adam Gaffney, Dr. David Himmelstein, and Dr. Steffie Woolhandler. Gaffney is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, while Himmelstein and Woolhandler are professors of public health at the City University of New York.

The federal surveys used in the study included the Current Population Survey (CPS), which is conducted by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics; the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS); and the Census' American Community Survey (ACS).

"I see that my uninsured patients often can't get the care they need, and research proves that many who lack coverage die as a result," Woolhandler said. "Trump has tried at every turn to undermine the ACA and chip away at coverage. That's costing thousands of lives."

The experts warned that overturning the Affordable Care Act could result in even more unnecessary deaths.

"Our analysis warns that much worse is ahead if the Supreme Court overturns the ACA, as Trump's Justice Department is advocating," Gaffney, the study's lead author, said. "Gutting the ACA would throw another 19.9 million Americans off of insurance, and cause up to 68,345 extra deaths each year."

He added: "We need to expand insurance, not shrink it. With 30 million uninsured today, we could save thousands of lives by achieving universal coverage."

Trump has made it a key mission of his administration to do away with the broadly popular health care law, and has repeatedly promised to give Americans a new health care deal during his first term in office. More than 20 million Americans would lose their health coverage if the law were repealed, according to the Center for American Progress.

In a recent interview, CBS News' Lesley Stahl pressed Trump on how he would protect preexisting conditions if the Supreme Court struck down the Affordable Care Act. He refused to give a straight answer.

Instead, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany presented Stahl with a "heavy book" about Trump's supposed health care plan. "It was filled with executive orders and congressional initiatives, but no comprehensive health care plan," the news outlet tweeted.

Trump's own Health and Human Services secretary has even admitted that Trump's executive order on preexisting conditions "holds no legal weight."

Trump also dodged questions about his health care plan during the Sept. 29 presidential debate.

"He has no plan for health care," former Vice President Joe Biden said. "He has been promising health care plan since he got elected. He has none. Like almost everything else he talks about, he does not have a plan."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.