Trump EOs Aim to Undermine Obamacare
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
On Wednesday and Thursday, Trump signed two anti-consumer executive orders, aiming to wreck Obamacare instead of seeking to improve affordable coverage for all Americans.
His actions made dysfunctional Obamacare much worse if they stick. One EO permits buying health insurance across state lines.
It'll expand association health plans (AHPs) written by trade associations, small businesses and other groups. It'll only lower insurance premiums by limiting coverage. Otherwise, they'll keep increasing.
According to American Academy of Actuaries' Cori Uccello, it's "a step in the wrong direction" for millions of people with preexisting conditions.
Healthy individuals could go without coverage, creating a high risk pool, making insurance premiums more unaffordable than already.
Wyoming, Maine and Georgia tried cross-state purchases of coverage unsuccessfully. Insurers lacked interest, in part because they had no customer base outside their marketplace.
Consumer advocates warned that without uniform federal standards, a race to the bottom could follow, insurers seeking sales in states with least stringent rules.
Representing the American Cancer Society, Chris Hansen said Trump's actions "could leave millions of cancer patients and survivors unable to access meaningful coverage."
The American Academy of Family Physicians together with physician groups said "allowing insurers to sell narrow, low-cost health plans likely will cause significant economic harm to women and older, sicker Americans who stand to face higher-cost and fewer insurance options."
Trump's second EO ends federal subsidies to low-income households, a White House statement saying:
"The Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that there is no appropriation for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies under Obamacare."
"The United States House of Representatives sued the previous administration in Federal court for making these payments without such an appropriation, and the court agreed that the payments were not lawful."
Baloney! Trump wants Obamacare wrecked, part of Washington's war on social justice, mainly since the neoliberal 90s.
Class war rages. The idea is eventually ending progressive governance altogether - combined with tax cuts for the rich and business.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are prime targets. So are other remaining New Deal and Great Society programs, freeing up federal revenues entirely for militarism, imperial wars and corporate handouts, leaving ordinary Americans on their own, able to have anything they want based on the ability to pay.
This fiscal year, Washington paid around $7 billion to insurers for subsidies, according the the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Ending them assures skyrocketing insurance premiums, making them unaffordable for low-income households, leaving them uninsured in case of serious illnesses or injuries.
Insurers will abandon more of the Obamacare marketplaces than already. They could sue the federal government for payments they're due under ACA.
Congress can fix the problem by enacting legislation mandating subsidy payments, possible but unlikely under GOP control, especially with Trump likely vetoing legislation authorizing them. Overriding him requires a two-thirds super-majority in both houses.
Trump's EOs show indifference to millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet.
For countless numbers, health insurance, or enough of it to matter, will be more unaffordable than now.
The only viable option lawmakers and Trump won't consider is universal coverage - everyone in, no one left out, publicly guaranteed, privately delivered, saving over $500 billion annually on wasteful bureaucracy providing no care for the nation's ill and injured.
That amount is more than enough to provide coverage for all Americans. Every other developed country has some form of universal coverage.
So do scores of less and underdeveloped ones. America is the world's richest nation, yet denies its citizens what most other countries consider a fundamental human right.
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