MIAMI, FLORIDA – One question asked during the Democratic Presidential Primary debate hosted by MSNBC last week appears to have upended the debate in America about health care.
several election cycles of Democrats arguing for an Obamacare mandate that
imposed fines on Americans who sometimes could not afford to purchase health
insurance amid rising insurance rates, the conversation has now turned to the
idea of providing free health care to individuals who are not legally present
in the United States.
During the second night of the debate, when asked by moderator Savannah Guthrie to raise their hands if their health care plan would cover “undocumented immigrants”, every single candidate, including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, raised their hands.
President Trump immediately pounced on the position of Democrats, tweeting, “All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare. How about taking care of American Citizens first!? That’s the end of that race!”
of the Democrat position over the course of a decade is astounding.
In 2009, the
position was that Americans should pay a fine if they can’t afford, or don’t
buy health insurance, because adding people to the insurance pool would bring
down rates, but that illegal immigrants should not qualify for health care
subsidies or benefits.
In 2019, the defense of the mandate and fines under Obamacare still remains, but now Democrats support providing free health care to illegal immigrants through a plan that, even many of them will admit, will require a middle-class tax increase.
Democrats may in the future try to free themselves from the triple entanglement
of fines for Americans who can’t afford health insurance; middle-class tax
hikes for a government takeover of health care; and a taxpayer funded benefits
for illegal immigrants – President Trump will be able to campaign on what he
has done to help the American people on health care.
has implemented rules around Health Reimbursement Arrangements that are
projected to help 11 million additional American workers get health insurance. HRA’s
were forbidden under the Obama administration, but are supported by many in America’s
small business community because they allow workers to access a more affordable
individual health insurance market if their employer is struggling with the
cost of group coverage.
orders follow actions by President Trump to enhance the ability of Americans to
buy insurance across state lines and to eliminate Obamacare’s individual
mandate. Congress did eventually end the individual mandate in the 2017 tax cut
bill known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
factors lead to a shifted dynamic in 2020.
Trump reforms, along with measures being taken at the state level across the country
to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions, or to stabilize and potentially
reduce health insurance rates with invisible risk pools, and the dynamics have
In Louisiana, the first state level GOP alternative to Obamacare, based on reforms passed in Maine before Obamacare became law, was recently signed into law by that state’s Democratic Governor.
revelation of the new position of Democrat Presidential candidates on health
care for illegal immigrants was not solely contained within the Presidential
National Committee spokeswoman Nina McLaughlin released a statement calling the
position “beyond extreme” and saying, “This begs the question – does Rep. Jared
Golden agree with the standard-bearers of his party that illegal immigrants
should receive healthcare at the expense of taxpayers? The people of Maine
deserve to know.”
Only time will tell how the issue of health care is debated in the months leading up to the general election, but one thing is certain, it will not be the same debate as 2010, or even 2018.