This is the worst possible moment to try to kill Obamacare (opinion)


Still, the Trump administration is pushing ahead with its position to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with the Supreme Court scheduled to hear the case this fall

Even after Attorney General William Barr pushed the administration to adjust its position in the dispute over Obamacare to be heard before the Supreme Court this fall, President Donald Trump has repeated Wednesday that his administration will continue its legal pressure to invalidate the ACA.

Trump told reporters: "We want to end health care for – under Obamacare because it's bad, and we're replacing it with good health care for far less money and that includes existing conditions." All the while, his administration has not yet promoted an alternative to the ACA.

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A CNN article reported that Barr had argued that the administration should change its legal position in a lawsuit filed by a group of Republican states, to preserve parts of the law. Trump's comments Wednesday, though he said he "didn't know about this proposal," seemed to indicate that his administration would stick to its former position, seeking to invalidate the entire ACA.
Depending on the outcome of the suit, this position may affect 20 million Americans, according Urban Institute. With more than 30 million people who have already applied for unemployment benefits, many more millions will be expected to rely on ACA for health care coverage in the coming months.

Without health insurance for as many Americans as possible, it will be difficult to contain the pandemic.

The new coronavirus, Covid-19, is one of the most contagious diseases in the world. The key to controlling the spread is early diagnosis with widespread, accessible and free testing, followed by aggressive contact tracking and quarantine of contacts.

Although the federal government has adopted legislation designed To cover the costs of coronavirus testing and treatment for uninsured, there are many loopholes that can still cause patients to carry the bulk of medical bills. The fear of financial danger can deter infected people from seeking care, which will make efforts to control Covid-19 even more challenging.

Health care for all other conditions also continues to occur during a pandemic. There is already concern that patients do not tend to their chronic conditions and heart attack, stroke and other life-threatening problems are missed because patients do not want to be exposed to Covid-19.

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Removing health insurance will further aggravate existing health problems, which will not only aggravate health outcomes but also increase the overall cost of health care if people wait until they are critically ill before seeking care.

In addition to the potential loss of health insurance for the more than 20 million who currently depend on the ACA, the loss of the ACA can also cause Covid-19 itself to label the millions infected as uninsured.

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Patients with severe effects of Covid-19 may end up with lasting conditions, including chronic lung and kidney conditions and even stroke and heart damage. Without ACA's protection for people with pre-existing conditions, patients who have recovered from Covid-19 can be denied health coverage.

Finally, among the groups most helped by the ACA are minorities and small business owners. These are the same people who are disproportionately affected by Covid-19. Removing ACA protection will exacerbate existing health disparities, which have already been imposed only by the pandemic.

To be sure, the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed many health problems. The pandemic can be a clearing call to reassess the whole way we deliver care. There are mistakes with the ACA that even advocates say need for improvement.

There will be time for reform, but now is not the moment to topple the entire system – not at the height of the outbreak, when thousands die every day.

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