On May 4, 2017, shortly after the Republican-sponsored American Health Care Act passed the U.S. House along solidly partisan lines, video and photos began to stream across our social media feeds and televisions and appear on the front pages of our newspapers. They showed celebrating Republican congressmen, flanking President Trump in the Rose Garden, looking jubilant, sharing the joys of a collective victory.
I’m a family medicine doctor. I knew I wouldn’t forget their smiles, their laughter or the president’s remarks on the legislative accomplishment. They had just voted successfully to take away access to health care for 23 million Americans, among them my patients. They had just voted to overturn a law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was on track to prevent medical bankruptcy for millions of their constituents. They had just voted to allow insurance companies to deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions. They had proposed no substantive alternative. And they seemed happy about it.
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Some Republicans running to defend their seats in the midterm elections are claiming to be champions for preexisting condition coverage. These are lies. Since taking office, President Trump has done everything in his power to sabotage the ACA, while Republicans in Congress have tried, and failed, over 70 times to repeal the law. Piece by piece, the Trump Administration has attempted to dismantle the ACA, whether by allowing insurance companies to sell cut-rate, junk plans or by eliminating premium subsidies for low-wage workers. Remarkably, while the president tweeted that his party will provide better protections for people with preexisting conditions than the Democrats, his administration is defending a suit brought in federal court by 20 Republican state attorneys general to dismantle the ACA, including its protections for people with preexisting conditions.
Most every one of us has or loves someone who has a preexisting condition. This includes everything from the life-altering, like surviving cancer or having a high-risk pregnancy, to the everyday, like having had a cesarean section, using an inhaler for asthma or taking medications for high blood pressure.
We cannot be swindled by Republicans’ attempts to rewrite history. Their record on preexisting condition coverage protection is clearly documented. History suggests they will continue to try to destroy Americans’ access to care. Their celebration of something so devastating for my patients and me is seared into my memory, and no fiction can change that.
Mara Divis, DO, Humboldt Park
Hillary in 2020?
The column “Hillary Clinton remains the Democrats’ best chance to beat Trump in 2020,” (Nov. 3) may be the worst thing for the cause to remove Trump.
Don’t ask yourself, “Sanders lost 4 years ago, what makes him think he can win?” You should be asking, “Hillary lost twice — what will make voters think she can win?” Though Clinton is qualified, she is hugely unpopular with Independents and progressive Democrats, not just Republicans. She is still perceived as an out-of-touch, centrist neoliberal whose foreign policy decisions as secretary of state made her responsible for stoking the flames of hate against the U.S. The fact that she charged big bucks to super-rich donors at her events, while Sanders drew thousands for free, speaks volumes. Her persona is toxic, and she still draws immense hate from the right. They will have a field day if she runs again.
The worst is that her mere presence in the election will alienate voters, because she does not excite the base; rather, she thinks it “belongs” to her because she had the pledge of superdelegates before. She should not run. We need someone who is in touch with the people, who will fight for everyone, who will take on big corporations and the 1%. And that is not Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Mark Lester, Rogers Park
There are no circumstances under which I will vote for Clinton in 2020.
I’m a publicly employed grandmother in New York State, and I should be her base. I’m not. She is dishonest and a a supporter of everything that’s wrong with the Democrats. Running Clinton assures a two-term Trump administration. Stop this foolishness now. We are never going to vote for that.
Lauren Miller, Ontario, New York
Trump’s to blame
Phil Kadner let Donald Trump off the hook in his column “Fear and loathing in the days of Donald Trump”. He calls Trump “merely a symptom” of negative attitudes in this country. Trump is more a cause than a symptom. He is the most polarizing force we’ve ever had to tolerate, a white nationalism promoter who attacks a free press and immigrants seeking freedom. He is not president of all the states, which should be united. He is president of maybe 40 percent of voters, which includes people he incites to cheer his bragging and lying at hate-filled rallies.
Ed Stone, Northbrook