Public health workers want you to remember Trump’s healthcare record

health care

Dr. Suganya Karuppana speaking at the launch of Health Care Providers for Biden-Harris in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Camaron Stevenson

By Camaron Stevenson

May 17, 2024

Public health experts and Democratic state leaders announced Thursday the creation of a coalition of healthcare workers who plan to talk with voters about the stark contrast between presidential candidates’ healthcare policies.

The initiative, dubbed Health Care Providers for Biden-Harris, brings together a national network of doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals at every level who believe their industry was—and will be—better served under President Joe Biden than former President Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump proposed cuts to Medicare every single year he was in office,” said family medicine doctor Suganya Karuppana. “In stark contrast, President Biden is a champion of affordable health care and has not just defended Medicare, but has strengthened it.”

Karuppana pointed to Biden’s success in capping insulin costs for seniors to $35 per month, a cost-saving measure that lowered prices for more than 1 million Arizona seniors who rely on the medicine through Medicare.

Trump has long sought to slash funding for Medicare, the federal healthcare program for anyone over 65 and younger Americans with disabilities. After his 2017 tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy created a massive, trillion-dollar deficit, Trump sought to make up the difference with cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. His budget proposals while in office included cuts ranging from $500 billion to $818 billion over the course of 10 years from Medicaid alone, and over $1 trillion from other social programs.

Despite failing repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act while in office, Trump has pledged to continue efforts to end the widely popular program should he win reelection. Should he succeed in ending the program, the action would terminate health coverage for nearly 350,000 Arizonans who rely on the program for affordable insurance.

The Biden administration, in contrast, removed layers of bureaucracy involved in coverage enrollment as a way to expand healthcare access, particularly for those who qualify for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The simplified process led to improved health care access for 17 million children, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

An end to the Affordable Care Act would also remove a requirement that insurance companies provide coverage to individuals with preexisting conditions, a provision that nearly 3 million Arizonans rely on for access to affordable healthcare options.

Lorenzo Sierra, Government and Community Affairs Officer for Terros Health and former state legislator, compared the experience he’s had as a cancer patient with access to affordable care to that of his mother.

“Because I have good health insurance, because I have access to care, I am not only going to be able to thrive—I am going to survive this cancer because it was caught early,” said Sierra. “That wasn’t the case for my mother in 2012. In 2012, my mother was finally diagnosed with a cancer that should have been—and could have been—curable, and survivable. But because she did not have access to quality healthcare, she perished from that cancer.”

Sierra said that, had the Affordable Care Act been around when his mother was diagnosed, it would have provided her with access to lifesaving care—and should the program end, those who rely on it for coverage now could be faced with a similar tragedy.

“We prayed that my mother would live long enough that the ACA would kick in and that she would have the coverage she needed to survive,” said Sierra. “That wasn’t the case.”

Author

  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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