Trump policies could put my family’s health care at risk

January 30, 2020 8:00 am

Bill Stumpf is a Dubuque nurse, shown here with his son Kyle. (Photo courtesy of Bill Stumpf)

Like every parent, I’m biased about my child — I think my son Kyle is a great young man. He’s smart, warm, and he lights up a room. Unlike most young men, though, Kyle has Down syndrome, and he receives on-site job coaching under his Medicaid coverage.

It’s hard for me to overstate how essential this job coaching has been to Kyle’s ability to live a full life. He leaves home every day at 9:15 in the morning to work at a job at a pizza place in our hometown of Dubuque, and gets home in the late afternoons. It’s an honest living, and Kyle loves his job, but we live in constant fear that all this could change as a result of the Trump administration’s constant attacks on health care and Social Security.

Trump’s presidency has been a disaster for families like mine. His latest budget proposal would cut $1.5 trillion from Medicaid, $25 billion from Social Security, and $845 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years. Kyle has gained vital independence and confidence through his restaurant job, but with these proposed cuts, he could lose his job and his independence.

Many Americans bought into the president’s promises that he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Trump also promised the country that he would provide great health care, even as he sought to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which provides critical protections to individuals with pre-existing conditions.

But those are just a few of the promises made and promises he’s broken since he took office. It’s hard to forget the moment in 2017 that I saw President Trump and congressional Republicans standing in the White House Rose Garden, laughing and smiling after they passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. As a dad and as someone with pre-existing conditions, I took it personally. The Trump administration and the Republicans in Congress have been trying to overturn and sabotage the ACA since it was enacted — and President Trump hasn’t even bothered to come up with a replacement plan. That’s no laughing matter.

The truth is, I don’t think President Trump has any intention of replacing the ACA or helping people like Kyle and me who have pre-existing conditions. When it comes to delivering on the promises that got him elected, the president has shown he’s nothing but talk. That has real consequences for Iowans and millions of Americans nationwide.

More than 20 million Americans have been able to obtain health coverage thanks to the ACA, and 135 million benefit from protections for preexisting conditions. In Iowa, almost 50,000 people have health care who didn’t have it before because of the ACA. Despite all the people who depend on the ACA and its protections, the Trump administration has focused on undoing it. I just can’t understand how he can fight so hard to take away our health care without a backup plan. It’s completely reckless.

For about five years now, I have been purchasing my health insurance on the exchange created by the ACA; with my part-time employment, I don’t qualify for employer-sponsored coverage. If the ACA is repealed, I would be forced to purchase health insurance privately for coverage, and without a doubt my premiums would skyrocket. Even if I could manage to afford the premiums, I could be denied coverage as a result of my pre-existing conditions. I could even face the possibility of quickly reaching lifetime caps on my care in the event of a major health crisis.

Donald Trump has no idea what families like mine are going through here in Iowa. Health care is a human right. Like every parent, I just want the same thing that every parent wants for their child: that he can live a happy, safe, and productive life.



Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.