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Trump supporters have faith in his health-care plan

Soon after Charla McComic’s son lost his job, his health-insurance premium dropped from $567 per month to just $88, a “blessing from God” that she believes was made possible by President Donald Trump.

“I think it was just because of the tax credit,” said McComic, 52, a former first-grade teacher who traveled to the rally from Lexington with her daughter, mother, aunt and cousin.

The price change was actually thanks to a subsidy made possible by former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which is still in place, not by the tax credits proposed by Republicans as part of the health-care bill still being considered by Congress.

It has been difficult for many Americans to keep up with the changes brought by Obamacare and exactly how the Republican proposal, if enacted, would affect their lives. But for Trump’s most dedicated supporters, it’s simply easier to trust the president is making things better and will follow through on his promise to provide “insurance for everybody” and “great health care for a fraction of the price.”

Medicaid or her 33-year-old son’s premiums going up.

“So far, everything’s been positive, from what I can tell,” she said, waiting for Trump’s rally here to begin Wednesday night. “I just hope that more and more people and children get covered under this new health-care plan.”

McComic says she has never trusted a president the way she trusts Trump. Ahead of the election, she and her relatives turned their cars into a “Trump train” and drove across Lexington, waving flags and shouting: “Trump! Trump! Vote for Trump!” She has watched all of the president’s rallies on television and got in line for Wednesday’s event at 7:30 a.m.

“We said: ‘Who else would we do this for, besides Trump?’ ” McComic said. “We agreed on the Lord. We would stand here for the Lord, but that’s about it.”

Tennessee has become one of the GOP’s go-to examples of why the Affordable Care Act is not working. Premiums for plans offered to state residents through a federal exchange skyrocketed last year – especially for those who earn too much to qualify for subsidies – and competition has dried up, with residents of most counties having access to only one insurance company.

“It’s a catastrophic situation,” Trump said, as some of the supporters seated behind him held up campaign signs that read, “Promises made, promises kept.”

Serge Martin, a 63-year-old optometrist from Murfreesboro, said he doesn’t particularly like the proposed legislation but considers it a “framework to get started with” that will be strengthened before it passes.

Martin and his wife purchase health insurance through the exchange and have watched the price climb each year. For 2017, there was only one insurance company offering coverage in his area, UnitedHealthcare, and the couple’s bill now totals $1,800 per month, with prescriptions costing another $250. With a deductible of $6,400, they rarely go to the doctor.

“There just aren’t any alternatives,” he said. “That’s the problem. There are no choices.”

Martin earns too much money to qualify for subsidies, but under the Republican legislation, he would be likely to receive a tax credit of several thousand dollars – although by the time that perk kicks in, Martin will probably be old enough to switch to Medicare. In the meantime, he’s using savings to pay the bills.

His friend Tim Weinberger, a 48-year-old owner of a small maintenance company, doesn’t have that kind of cash and hasn’t had insurance in at least a decade. The last time he saw a doctor was six years ago, after an accident. When Obamacare first started, Weinberger said, it would have cost him about $250 per month for a plan, which he couldn’t afford. He assumes the price is even higher now. So Weinberger goes without insurance, as do his two employees. When filing his taxes, Weinberger says, he claims to have insurance to avoid having to pay a penalty he considers unfair.

“It would be nice to have a doctor,” he said, “just to check in on every once in a while.”

As several thousand of Trump’s supporters gathered in the historic Municipal Auditorium on Wednesday, more than 2,500 protesters gathered outside. They urged their fellow Tennesseans to not trust the president’s vague promises and to study the Congressional Budget Office’s score of the bill, which estimates 24 million fewer people will have health insurance coverage by 2026 and that Medicaid would be cut by $880 billion over 10 years.

They held signs that read: “Healthcare for all,” “Don’t take away my care,” “Protect rural hospitals,” “At least Obama cared” and “24 million.”

Republicans call for work requirements, additional Medicaid cuts in health bill

Republicans call for work requirements, additional Medicaid cuts in health bill

The Republican proposal to overhaul the Affordable Care Act cleared a key hurdle Thursday, as the House Budget Committee narrowly voted to move it to the House floor and recommended a series of changes to the plan reflecting concerns from conservatives and centrists.

All of the panel’s Republicans…

The Republican proposal to overhaul the Affordable Care Act cleared a key hurdle Thursday, as the House Budget Committee narrowly voted to move it to the House floor and recommended a series of changes to the plan reflecting concerns from conservatives and centrists.

All of the panel’s Republicans…

(Mike Debonis, Sean Sullivan)

Many of these activists have been fighting for years for the state to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which it never did, and now they face a future that’s even bleaker. They warn that the proposed legislation is likely to lead to fewer children and pregnant women receiving care, less funding for nursing homes and rural hospitals, dramatic cuts to mental health and drug treatment programs, less support for the disabled, and large premium increases for those who had been receiving subsidies, especially older people with low or moderate incomes.

Article source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-trump-supporters-health-care-plan-20170316-story.html

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