Of all of Donald Trump’s broken campaign promises, none is more cruel than his broken promise on health care.
During the campaign, he promised, “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.” But Trumpcare, in the House bill he endorsed, cuts $834 billion out of Medicaid over 10 years, depriving over 14 million Americans of coverage. His budget cuts another $610 billion from Medicaid and an additional $6 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that covers poor children. In total, Medicaid is to be slashed by 45 percent. This broken promise punishes the most vulnerable.
As the Kaiser Family Foundation reported, Medicaid provides health and long-term care coverage to nearly 70 million low-income Americans, including pregnant women, poor children, the blind and the disabled, low-income workers and the elderly in need of long-term care. Its beneficiaries, Kaiser reports, “include many of the most disadvantaged individuals in the U.S. in terms of poverty, poor physical and mental health, disability and lack of social supports.”
Thirty-three million children — one in three in America — receive health care through Medicaid, and the program finances almost half of all births. Children make up nearly half of all Medicaid recipients, but cost only 20 percent of its funds. Most of the money is spent on the disabled and the elderly in the dusk of life.
Why would Donald Trump break his promise on Medicaid and put the health services of 70 million children, disabled and elderly at risk? Trumpcare, which the CBO says will deprive 23 million in total of health insurance, uses the savings to finance $600 billion in tax breaks, mostly for the richest Americans and for health care insurance and drug companies. The 400 richest Americans will receive a $7 million tax break every year. The insurance companies pocket $145 billion in tax cuts; the drug companies another $25 billion.
Similarly, Trump’s added cuts of Medicaid and CHIP in his budget — as well as the decimation of virtually every domestic service, including the elimination of home heating and meals on wheels for the very vulnerable — goes to help pay for more tax cuts for the rich and corporations and more spending on the military. His tax plan is skewed to benefit the very wealthy, eliminating the estate tax that applies only to multimillion-dollar estates, eliminating the alternative minimum tax that insures the very rich pay something in taxes, lowering the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, lowering top-end tax rates and more.
The immorality of this twisted plan is appalling. More innocent babies will die at birth if this goes through. More children will grow without decent health care, dental care or eye care. More of the disabled will be destitute. More of the elderly will die without decent care. And we aren’t likely to save much money, since more will be burdened with costly and disabling diseases and injuries. The wealthiest will have more money, but surely less peace. Is this rich nation so callous or corrupt as to abandon the vulnerable to succor the rich? Are conservatives, who proclaim to be pro-life, so blinded by their ideology that they will chose to add to the number of babies dying at birth?
The Bible teaches us to feed the hungry, cloth the naked and care for the sick.
We’re taught that we will be judged by how we treat the “least of these.” “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (Mathew 25:45). If Trump’s broken promise is passed into law, we should fear for this rich nation that has strayed so far from its own values.