Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Pro-Trump States Most Affected By His Health Care Decision

If you're in the individual market and wondering if this is going to affect you immediately it's not If you're in the individual market and wondering if this is going to affect you immediately it's not
Kenny Thornton | 17 October, 2017, 20:35

President Donald Trump's decision to end a provision of the Affordable Care Act that lowered out-of-pocket medical costs brought swift reaction Friday from the states, as health officials and consumers said they feared the action could chase millions of Americans away from coverage. It does so by allowing the sale of insurance plans that do not meet basic standards through "associations", which might be made up of employers, interest groups, or just entrepreneurial opportunists-the exact rules still have to be written. Trump says he plans to save "the American people from the nightmare of Obamacare".

Trump invited congressional Democrats to negotiate on health care.

Republicans claim that Trump's actions on Thursday accomplish many of their goals on health care. He would need at least eight Senate Democratic votes to pass legislation and overcome a filibuster.

Even as they sue, many officials are still advising consumers to buy coverage under the exchanges after enrollment opens November 1.

First, was an executive order that the President says will offer more choice for health care patients.

"The cost of the Obamacare has been so outrageous, it is absolutely destroying everything in its wake", Trump said at a White House signing ceremony. Other states have contingency plans.

More than 350,000 people in North Carolina qualified for and benefited this year from the Cost-Sharing Reductions insurance companies are required to provide that are funded by the federal reimbursement payments. Those offer limited benefits for people between jobs or young adults no longer eligible to be covered under their parents' health plans. But they also represent a loophole, which the Obama Administration tried to close, by defining "temporary" as no more than three months.

Trump said Thursday's move was "only the beginning" and that his administration would take additional steps. While the Executive Order directed the agencies to "consider and evaluate public comment on any regulations proposed" pursuant to the Order, it did not specify whether the Departments must evaluate said comments before the regulations take effect. But to make up for the lost federal funding, health insurers will have to raise premiums substantially, potentially putting coverage out of reach for many consumers.

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"For 2018, the insurers filed rates under the assumption that the cost-sharing reduction subsidies would not be available", said Ward Sanders, president of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans, an industry group.

Although Trump used the executive-order signing to goad his fellow Republicans-"We're going to also pressure Congress very strongly to finish the repeal and the replace"-they did much to make this day possible. That's clearly not the case", Antos said". On the other: conservatives demanding a major weakening of the Affordable Care Act as the price for returning the money.

"It should come as no surprise that California is prepared to fight in court to protect affordable healthcare for its people", Becerra said.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners estimates that ending the payments will produce a 12 percent to 15 percent increase in premiums, while the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has pegged the hike at 20 percent. In the case of short-term health plans and Health Reimbursement Arrangements, the Executive Order could lead the Departments merely to rescind President Obama's prior regulations-which nearly by definition cannot represent regulatory overreach. One-third of the counties in the United States only had one insurance carrier in their market places in 2017.

Hospital stocks edged lower in Thursday trading, with HCA Healthcare down 1.7 percent and Tenet Healthcare down 2.6 percent.

Insurers could also simply drop out of the ACA entirely. One concern is that young, healthy people will be drawn to association plans because they don't "need" comprehensive coverage, and are making what they believe is a rational calculation, albeit one that will drive up premiums in the Obamacare market, by making that pool of people, on average, sicker and older.

The administration also halved the open enrollment period, which begins November 1, slashed the Obamacare advertising and outreach budget, and allowed broad religious and moral exemptions to the law's mandate that employers provide coverage for women's birth control.

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