Trump Wants to Jeopardize Health Care for 100 Million People. Bernie Sanders is Fine with That.

Donald Trump's Department of Justice is siding with a crazy - but potentially devastating - opinion of a federal judge that the entire Affordable Care Act should be invalidated because Republicans killed the individual responsibility provision in 2017.

We pointed out at our mothership The People's View at the time of the ruling not only the fact that the right wing activist judge had assumed the powers to overrule the Supreme Court, but that Republicans know no bounds to hypocrisy. Previous to the then-Republican Congress removing the penalty for the individual mandate, Republicans had challenged the constitutionality of Obamacare because of the individual responsibility provision, an argument the Supreme Court did not buy. After the removal of the penalty, though, Republicans then argued that the law was unconstitutional because the mandate was gone.

Donald Trump, like his party, is completely devoid of principle, and he has supported both arguments.

The Supreme Court has a more conservative bend now than it did at the time it upheld the Affordable Care Act and prevented Republicans for not only taking away coverage from up to 30 million people, but removing from over 100 million people the protections afforded under the Affordable Care Act, most importantly the prohibition against rejecting or discriminating against those who have pre-existing conditions. Even more people benefit from other benefits of the Affordable Care Act, including the outlawing of annual and lifetime benefit caps and the imposition of minimum essential benefits.

Should courts side with the Republican state attorneys general who are suing under the creative theory of "heads I win, tails you lose", the health care system would unravel so much that even the health insurance industry - which is usually superfriends to Republicans - is freaked out.

There is a critical point that needs to be mentioned here. With Trump's Justice Department now siding with a conservative judicial activist who has ruled the entire law should go away, this would be the end of the road for the lawsuit and a hundred million people would find themselves on a devastating side of history, were it not for one single event: the Democrats' victory in the House in the November elections. Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic House intervened to defend the ACA in January, and that is the only reason there is still a court case.

And Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats, unveiled yesterday a set of reforms aimed at fortressing and expanding the protections of Obamacare. Among other things, it bans the Trump administration from expanding junk insurance.

With the development of the Trump DOJ seeking to scrap the ACA, put 20-30 million people out of health care immediately and removing protections for hundreds of millions, Chris Hayes of MSNBC seemed excited to talk with Sen. Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidate who has made single-payer-or-bust a core feature of his platform for his second run for the White House.

But Sanders has voted for other health care measures before, including Obamacare, so Hayes didn't expect Sanders to go all-in with the Trump strategy of getting rid of the Affordable Care Act.

That is exactly what Bernie Sanders did. Asked by Hayes whether he would support the House Democratic proposal, he answered in the negative and went onto talk about single-payer health care instead. Gobsmacked, Hayes tried again, asking specifically whether Sanders would vote for the House bill should it reach the floor of the Senate. NO, Bernie pounded.

Sure, Sanders got his umbrage in about how bad the Trump administration's actions were, but he simultaneously made clear that he will leave people without protections unless his preferred solution was the only game in town. There are three names for it: plausible deniability, a distinction without a difference, and blackmail.

Just to be sure, here is the set of reforms Bernie Sanders is saying 'No' to, in his quest to assist the Trump administration to burn down Obamacare's protections for hundreds of millions of people with no immediate possibility of enacting his preferred reform, a single-payer system:

  • Expanding marketplace subsidies so families can qualify for them based on family income, not just individuals.
  • Funding for reinsurance.
  • Stipulate that any plans - including waivers granted to states - have to meet minimum standards and Trump can't just unilaterally expand junk insurance.
  • Restoring mandatory funding for navigators, outreach, and increasing enrollment.

Even Chris Hayes, who is usually a big fan of Bernie Sanders's and lives to talk to Sanders on his show, was incredulous and flabbergasted at Bernie's insincere opposition good reforms - reforms he had voted for in the past.

I am not sure why Hayes is surprised. Bernie Sanders has signaled for a long time now that he plans on tearing down the entire present health care system - including the government-sponsored parts of it - regardless of whether his replacement plan has any chance of becoming law. Like Trump, Bernie Sanders believes that you have to burn down the house and make people suffer first to create the requisite pressure to enact your own ideological agenda.

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