Trump and Republicans Fail
In the end, the votes just weren’t there. The Trump administration, which had made loud campaign promises of “immediately repealing and replacing Obamacare”, was dealt a stinging defeat by the House today, with 33 Republicans set to vote against the American Health Care act, a signature piece of conservative legislation.
When Speaker Paul Ryan went down Pennsylvania Avenue to advise President Trump of the lack of a majority for the bill, the White House requested that it be taken off the floor without a roll-call vote. “we came up short today,” Ryan acknowledged, “and Obamacare will continue to be the law of the land for the near term future.”
Even as millions of Americans who feared losing their coverage under Trumpcare breathed a sigh of relief this afternoon, the LGBT community also, according to expert sources, has reason to be thankful. “Before [Obamacare] was passed,” said former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, who now leads the National Black Leadership Council on AIDS (NBLCA), “24 percent of people living with HIV didn’t have any coverage whatsoever.” Obamacare remedied that, giving millions of people living with HIV or AIDS (PLWHA) access to life-sustaining treatments and medications.
Had Trumpcare passed, it would have eliminated all funding for critical programs like Medicaid expansion by 2020, according to the C2EA. This includes coverage for maintenance medications and the Centers for Disease Control’s Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) project. PrEP, which mitigates the infectious potential of exposure to HIV through unprotected sex, uses medications like Truvada to forestall seroconversion in HIV-negative patients.
“Our primary focus has been to teach CDC PrEP protocols to doctors and hospitals in underserved areas,” says Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC’s director, “especially where infection rates are highest, like the Deep South.”
Under Trumpcare, treatment modalities most often used by the LGBT community–medication cocktails, HIV monitoring, and outpatient clinical services–would have faced funding cuts or zero funding, leaving these patients to either pay exorbitant premiums on the “free market”, or do without.
Because the bill died without a vote, those vital safety nets will remain active, according to a high-level New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We dodged a bullet,” he observed, “for now”.