(CNN)President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to make health care better for all Americans, especially those with pre-existing conditions.
But while his administration has yet to unveil a plan, his Justice Department is now threatening to strip away coverage and benefits that many people have come to take for granted in the nine years since the landmark Affordable Care Act was signed into law.
The administration said Monday that the entire law should be struck down, a dramatic reversal of its earlier stance. In a filing with a federal appeals court, the Justice Department said it agreed with the ruling of a federal judge in Texas that invalidated Obamacare. Previously, the agency under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions had argued only that two key protections for those with pre-existing conditions could not be defended.
If the Trump administration prevails, the health care of nearly every American could be affected, though most don’t realize it. While most people associate Obamacare with the individual health insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion, it has far wider impact.
Obamacare has meant lower premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs for the roughly 60 million senior citizens and disabled Americans enrolled in Medicare. And it helped close the gap in Medicare’s drug coverage.
It slowed the growth of Medicare payment rates to hospitals and other providers, reduced payments to Medicare Advantage plans and improved benefits for enrollees. The Obama administration estimated in 2016 that the typical Medicare beneficiary pays about $700 less in premiums and cost sharing thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Another popular provision: Children are allowed to remain on their parents’ plans until they turn 26. Also, companies with at least 50 employees must provide affordable insurance to their staffers…