'To Hell With Political Parties and Legacies': Trump's Move to Scrap Subsidies Affects Real People

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump at the White House on October 12. The latest false suggestion about Obama from the president has prompted a strong reaction on social media. Alex Wong/Getty

Derek Sire, a 26-year-old student living in a suburb of Chicago, can only afford health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act's subsidies. Every month, the subsidies pay for $199 of his insurance plan, while he contributes his own $133, using the money he earns working part-time at a local church. When Sire heard President Donald Trump eliminated the ACA's subsidies late Thursday night, he panicked—in addition to suffering from back pain, Sire relies on his insurance to treat a mental health condition.

The stress of not knowing whether he would be able to continue accessing mental health care, he says, has already taken a toll.

"It causes me more stress that I have to worry about this," Sire tells Newsweek. "It almost compounds my diagnosis."

Sire is just one of some 6 million enrollees who qualify for the ACA's cost-sharing payment program. Trump's decision to scrap the subsidies will impact low-income Obamacare recipients most acutely: Enrollees who qualify for the subsidies earn incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

In some ways, Sire says he's fortunate: As a student, he's able to access his university's campus health care services. But without the ACA's monthly subsidies, he may no longer be able to afford health insurance at all, making these services his primary form of care. That could be a huge problem.

Sire explains:

I'm a former political science major and have taken classes on health care, so I'm aware of what it means for people to be able to manage their diagnoses. I'm actually someone who wants to take care of myself, and I'd like to be able to do that. It causes me more stress that I have to worry about this. It almost compounds my diagnosis. I'm privileged in many ways. I'm white and male, but it's unjust that this is something that compounds my mental health diagnosis—that I have to worry about being able to treat that diagnosis for reasons like this.

Thank God I have access to student health services, but it will be a problem for my prescriptions. If a doctor wants me taking prescription medication ... and I can't get it because I don't have coverage, that could lead to me having an episode or relapse, and that wouldn't be good for me. It could change my future in terms of a school semester or maintaining a job and I don't think that would be fair.

I don't know how else people can strongly convey to politicians the weight of the decisions they are making: It's life or death for many people. It shouldn't be that we see a story in the middle of the night that somebody just makes a decision that could have implications for whether or not someone continues school the next semester because they might lose health care.

To hell with political parties and legacies. If there's any legacy that matters it's that people's lives matter.

There may be hope for Sire yet: According to ABC News, Trump's decision to eliminate Obamacare subsidies could be entangled in legal battles for years. Attorneys general in almost 20 states already have reported plans to sue the Trump administration to uphold the subsidies, arguing Trump is legally bound to continue paying them.