Oct 13

A Double Hit To Health Care

Yesterday Donald Trump signed an executive order that would permit people to buy junk health insurance undermining the Affordable Car Act. The EO essential creates a parallel insurance system for healthy people:

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an order that could rattle the Affordable Care Act’s private insurance markets by allowing a proliferation of cheaper, less comprehensive plans that would undermine rules about who and what insurers must cover.

The order will primarily affect small businesses and people who buy private coverage on their own, rather than through employers. It could lead the kind of transformation that, according to experts, GOP repeal bills would unleash if one of them were to become law.

In particular, the new, less regulated insurance plans could provide an attractive alternative to consumers who don’t expect to have large medical bills and who are frustrated with the high premiums they pay for policies today. At the same time, comprehensive coverage could become harder and eventually even impossible to find, especially for people with pre-existing conditions.

Then late last night the White House announced that it would scrap health care subsidies:

President Trump will scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-income people, the White House said late Thursday. His plans were disclosed hours after the president ordered potentially sweeping changes in the nation’s insurance system, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers.

The twin hits to the Affordable Care Act — on successive days — could unravel President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, sending insurance premiums soaring and insurance companies fleeing from the health law’s online marketplaces. After Republicans failed to repeal the health law in Congress, Mr. Trump appears determined to dismantle it on his own.

Without the subsidies, insurance markets could quickly unravel. Insurers have said they will need much higher premiums and may pull out of the insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act if the subsidies were cut off. Known as cost-sharing reduction payments, or CSRs, the subsidies were expected to total $9 billion in the coming year and nearly $100 billion in the coming decade. [..]

By late Thursday night, a backlash against Mr. Trump — including from fellow Republicans — appeared imminent as lawmakers voiced concern over how ending the subsidies would affect their constituents.

“Cutting health care subsidies will mean more uninsured in my district,” Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida, wrote on Twitter. She added that Mr. Trump “promised more access, affordable coverage. This does opposite.”

David Anderson at Balloon Juice has the statement from the acting secretary of Health and Human Services and the 2018 contract clause language

The last word is critical: “Immediately” [..]

Immediate termination is critical because the contracts insurers signed for 2017 and 2018 each had exit clauses. [..]

Tomorrow morning I expect the state attorney generals that were brought into the CSR case to file for an injunction. If that fails, I expect a dozen lawsuits to be filed as well. If those don’t produce an injunction, we will need to watch and see which insurers run from the individual market over the weekend. Some may be able to do so as state law could allow for them to flee from a material event. Other states will lock insurers in for months of notice.

This was done out pure malice. Trump is an evil, sick man and deserves nothing but contempt. Republican will lose in droves if they don’t fix this