What Trump Did Last Week to Obamacare

Democrats have been negotiating with Republicans on a bipartisan “stabilization bill” that would include a guarantee that CSR payments continue. But merely guaranteeing those payments is not enough. Ask your MoCs to ensure that the bipartisan bill continues protections for people enrolled in association health plans, that short-term plans stay truly short-term, and that CSR payments continue.

 

What Trump Did Last Week to Obamacare

Last week, Trump signed two Executive Orders (EO)—remember how much Republicans used to complain about Obama’s EOs?—aimed at nothing less than crippling the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The following has been taken from an email sent by Vox.com’s health care expert, Sarah Kliff:

The White House announced late Thursday morning it would cut off a key Obamacare subsidy that makes copayments and deductibles more affordable for low-income Americans. These subsidies were never appropriated in Obamacare and thus are being illegally distributed.

There is no question that this new policy is lose-lose-lose for key stakeholders with no upside:

  • It will raise Obamacare premiums by an estimated 20 percent in 2018, as health plans have to charge more to make up the lost funds. By 2020, premiums would increase 25 percent due to this change.
  • Pulling the plug actually increases the national deficit. As those insurance plans make double-digit rate increases, the government will have to spend billions more on the other subsidies that 10 million Americans receive to purchase that coverage.
  • The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this move will ultimately cost the government $194 billion over the next decade.
  • The number of uninsured Americans would rise by 1 million people in 2018, in the CBO’s estimate.
  • Insurance companies lose out, too, particularly those that assumed Trump would pay these subsidies and set their premiums accordingly. They now stand to face significant financial loses on the Obamacare marketplaces.

To recap: Trump is enacting a policy where the government spends billions more to insure fewer people.

The other Executive Order, according to the national Indivisible website, is:

…directed the Departments of Treasury, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Labor to implement new regulations that will expand the availability of association health plans (AHPs) and short-term insurance plans. While this won’t have an immediate effect because the departments still need to write the regulations and hold a rulemaking process, this will drastically reduce the number of Americans enrolled in plans that are covered by the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections. If small businesses and others take full advantage of the new rules, they could offer their employees plans that don’t cover essential health benefits and have more leeway to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

The result will be:

…that more young, healthy consumers enroll in these skimpy plans, driving up the cost of more comprehensive ACA-compliant plans. This will result in ACA plans becoming more expensive, which will drive people with less serious health needs out of these plans, which will result in higher premiums—a cycle known as a “death spiral.” The end result will be two insurance markets: one for relatively healthy people that offers cheap but inadequate coverage, and one for sick people that offers prohibitively expensive coverage.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Again, according to Indivisible:

Democrats have been negotiating with Republicans on a bipartisan “stabilization bill” that would include a guarantee that CSR payments continue. But merely guaranteeing those payments is not enough. Ask your MoCs to ensure that the bipartisan bill continues protections for people enrolled in association health plans, that short-term plans stay truly short-term, and that CSR payments continue.

Senator Marco Rubio: DC Office Phone (202)224-3041. Email (and more office numbers) can be found on his website: Rubio’s Website

Senator Bill Nelson: DC Office Phone (202)224-5274. Email (and more office numbers) can be found on his website: Nelson’s Website

Congressman Ted Yoho: DC Office Phone (202)225-5744. Email (and more office numbers) can be found on his website: Yoho’s Website

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