Health & Disability Advocates stands in strong opposition to the steps President Trump has taken to undermine the vital consumer protections found in the Affordable Care Act. As a result of pushing federal agencies to expand the growth of association and short term insurance plans, coupled with his late night decision to end critical subsidy payments to insurers, people with complex conditions are now at greater risk than ever for higher premiums, lifetime caps, and losing coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
The administration’s attack began with an executive order that pushes for the expanded sale of “association” and “short-term” insurance plans. These types of plans are often touted as a low-cost insurance option for younger, healthier consumers. However, there is a downside in that many do not have to comply with the benefit and coverage minimums required under the Affordable Care Act. Expanding the use of cheap plans with less coverage means younger and healthier consumers will leave traditional plans, and the sicker consumers remaining will be left paying higher premiums. Meanwhile, younger consumers will risk paying for insurance that may not cover them when they become ill. “The Executive Order returns us to the ‘bad old days’ pre-ACA where people could be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions and could be burdened by lifetime caps on coverage,” says Barbara Otto, Chief Executive Officer of Health & Disability Advocates.
Unfortunately, the pain caused by the President’s executive action was only magnified late last night when he announced he would end the vital Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) program. This program helps cover medical costs for low-income people by providing payments to insurance companies. The payments have been deemed vital to ensuring market stability. Ending these payments was seen by many as a dramatic blow to the industry. “Healthcare is 18% of the gross domestic product and the healthcare sector created more jobs than any other sector of the economy in 2016,” says Otto, “These attacks on the ACA destabilize the healthcare market and healthcare systems.”