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Trump Threatens Executive Order to Derail Obamacare

When it comes to repealing and replacing Obamacare, President Donald Trump counts as the epitome of a sore loser, berating some Republicans and chastising Democrats.

But the president also counts as a loser with ultimate power who doesn’t seem to mind even when he contradicts himself.

Trump has reiterated that despite the GOP’s failure to eradicate the law that bears the name of his hated predecessor, he will dismantle the measure.

“I will issue a very major executive order [probably this week],” Trump said after Senate Republicans failed to get the votes needed to repeal and replace the law. “People can go out, cross state lines, do lots of things and buy their own health care.”

It’s a tune he’s played before. Only now, an executive order is one of just a few remaining choices.

Even as Trump ignites a culture war with his inflammatory statements regarding NFL and NBA athletes – the clear majority of whom are African-American – the president again has left little doubt about his policies within the Black community.

This from Trump, who as presidential candidate implored African-Americans to vote for him by saying, “What the hell do you have to lose?”

For starters, health care.

Families USA, a leading national voice for health care consumers, performed a comprehensive study on Trump and the GOP’s effort to dismantle Obamacare.

In short, African-Americans have a hell of a lot to lose.

Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, was a game-changer for African American health. Thanks to the ACA, the inequity in uninsured rates for African-American and white children was completely eliminated.

For the first time in history, a Black child is no longer more likely to be uninsured than a white child, according to research provided by Families USA.

The uninsured rate for African-American adults was cut by almost half between 2010 and 2015, from 27 percent uninsured to 14.5 percent uninsured.

There are 5 million African-Americans in insurance plans that they or their families purchase on their own who could lose that coverage or face dramatic increases in their out of pocket costs.

Also, the GOP plans to gut the Medicaid program which would put 13.9 million African-Americans at risk of losing Medicaid benefits or losing Medicaid coverage entirely.

Not having health insurance can be especially devastating for African-Americans, a community that suffers disproportionately from a host of conditions that require early detection and treatment, such as asthma, hypertension, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Denying people with these conditions the care they need to manage their health likely will result in more complications, worse outcomes, and even early death, health officials said.

The New York Times said Trump’s recent comments have mystified members of both parties in both houses of Congress.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a member of the Senate Republican leadership, laughed when asked about Trump’s assertion that the votes were there for health care [next year].

“I’d like to know where they are,” Thune said. “He must be using a different calculator than the rest of us.”

In the space of 10 minutes before senators finally decided against a vote, the president said seven times that “we have the votes” on health care.

But that appeared to be based on some erroneous or optimistic assumptions: That Sen. Thad Cochran, Mississippi Republican, was in the hospital and unavailable to vote, and that other Republican senators, including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, were ready to vote yes.

Cochran quickly corrected the president.

“Thanks for the well-wishes. I’m not hospitalized, but am recuperating at home in Mississippi and look forward to returning to work soon,” Cochran said on Twitter.

The senator’s office said he had recently been treated for “a urological issue.”

Even if Cochran had been in Washington, Senate Republicans would not have had the votes to pass the Graham-Cassidy bill.

Three of the 52 Republican senators – Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky – had announced that they opposed the measure, which had no support from Democrats.

Murkowski said she had been unable to obtain “true, accurate data” about the bill’s effect on her state, which has exceptionally high health costs, the New York Times reported.

Yet, Trump said that statements issued by Murkowski and others showed that Republicans had nearly enough votes.

“We were only one off, maybe two,” he said.

Trump said that he was confident that the Senate would approve the guts of the Graham-Cassidy bill, which would give each state a lump sum of federal funds, in place of the money states receive under the Affordable Care Act for insurance subsidies and the expansion of Medicaid.

“We will do the block grants,” Trump said.

As journalists asked Trump about other issues like taxes, the NFL and new restrictions on foreign visitors, he kept returning to health care.

“I feel we have the votes,” he said. “I’m almost certain we have the votes. But with one man in the hospital, we cannot display that we have them. Plus, some people want to go through a process just to make themselves feel better. That’s OK.”

Now, Trump will try and use the power of his office and bypass legislation with an executive order.

“The president made a statement about ‘what do you have to lose,’ he specifically challenged the African-American community,” said Rep. Dwight Evans, Pennsylvania Democrat. “Well, what people have to lose is their health care, which if they don’t have health care where we in Congress have health care, you know exactly what that would mean in terms of jobs and their ability to move around. It would have a devastating impact.”

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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