October 8, 2020

An analysis Wednesday by the New York Times estimating the treatment President Donald Trump received for Covid-19 would have cost ordinary Americans over $100,000 is being met with fury by critics, who pointed to the cruelty of an administration working feverishly to slash healthcare access for millions in the middle of a pandemic and economic recession.

The costs were calculated by the Times' Sarah Kliff, who considered the president's coronavirus testing, three-day hospital stay, and medications, as well as the big ticket item of his helicopter transportation to and from Walter Reed.

"The median charge for a coronavirus hospitalization for a patient over 60 is $61,912, according to a claims database, FAIR Health," the Times reported, and pointed to data finding a $38,770 median charge for an air ambulance.

High costs and potential ensuing medical debt aren't a threat for just those uninsured. From the reporting:

Many, but not all, health insurers have said they will not apply co-payments or deductibles to patients' coronavirus hospital stays, which could help shield patients from large bills.

Uninsured patients, however, could be stuck with the entire hospital charges and not receive any discounts.

Trump, like any president, enjoys medical costs covered by the federal government, as the Times noted. But a number of recent items, apart from the administration's widely criticized response to the pandemic, are thrown into stark relief with the new reporting.

Among them: the president's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court Amy Coney Barrett, is seen by Democrats as poised to bring a key role in fulfilling the administration's goal of striking down Obamacare, potentially kicking 20 million off people off healthcare insurance. An estimated 12 million Americans have already lost their employer-tied heath insurance since February, and tens of millions more workers could lose their employer-based health insurance by the end of the year—even if they don't lose their jobs.

Further, despite a Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. of over 211,000 and vastly unequal access to healthcare services, Trump has repeated in messaging since his hospital stay a total dismissal of the severity of the disease, urging the public: "Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life," and saying that "we have the best medicines" after he received an experimental drug that nearly no other human has been able to access to treat Covid-19.

What's more, the Times revealed just last week that Trump paid $0 in federal income taxes in 10 of the last 15 years and a mere $750 in 2016 and 2017—far more than everyday working Americans.

Responding to the Times' reporting, labor leader and organizer RoseAnn DeMoro tweeted, "This makes me puke."

"We paid for this with our taxes," she added. "He doesn't even pay taxes."

The fact that Trump enjoyed the "Medicare for one" just ahead of halting congressional negotiations on economic relief—even as Americans continue to face potential evictions and job losses—was further infuriating.

"After receiving three days of topnotch medical care that would cost most Americans over $100,000, Trump turned around and nuked stimulus talks, denying millions of Americans desperately needed relief," said Patriotic Millionaires, a group that advocates for a more just taxation system.

"Trump cares about one thing only—himself," the group tweeted.

According to Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), the case for dumping the for-profit medicare care system just gets clearer.

Republished from Common Dreams (Andrea Germanos, staff writer) under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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