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Trump found a way to simultaneously sabotage our health care and immigration systems

Catherine Rampell on

President Trump sabotaged the health care system. Separately, he's sabotaged the immigration system.

And now, in a presidential twofer, on Friday night the administration found a way to sabotage both simultaneously.

Unable to repeal Obamacare, the Trump administration has worked to make it less functional and more expensive. It has done this by zeroing out the individual mandate, expanding the availability of cheap but worthless junk insurance and curtailing the annual open-enrollment period, among other actions.

The cumulative effect of these policies has been to reduce the share of people who have (real, non-junk) insurance; those still motivated to seek comprehensive insurance tend to be sicker and more expensive to cover. The predictable result? Premiums hundreds of dollars higher than they would otherwise be, according to estimates from health care analyst Charles Gaba.

And, unsurprisingly, those who don't qualify for the subsidies that shield enrollees from these price hikes are dropping out of the individual market altogether because they can't afford the insurance.

But no worries. For years, administration officials and fellow Republican lawmakers have argued this is merely an expansion of a fundamental American freedom -- the freedom to go uninsured.

 

Simultaneously, of course, the administration has also been undermining our legal immigration system. Emphasis on "legal" here: For all of Trump's vitriol for undocumented immigrants, he's also been targeting people who are trying to come to this country lawfully.

Among the creative, non-legislative ways the administration has sabotaged the legal immigration system: huge and arbitrary delays in visa and citizenship application processing; cruel and inhumane treatment of families seeking asylum; reductions in the refugee admissions cap to its lowest level on record; and, of course, the travel ban placed on several majority-Muslim countries.

And then there are all of the policies intended to penalize legal immigrants whom the Trump administration claims are a financial burden.

To be clear: Immigrants are in fact a net fiscal boon to the United States, according to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and their children are "among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the U.S. population." But Trump and his aides are convinced that immigrants are, and will forever be, a drain on society.

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