“Tonight, I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare” — a so-far empty, but devastating were it to be carried out, promise that Trump made again tonight as he has for months.
Trump has used his executive power to weaken the Affordable Care Act, threatening health care access for 18 million Americans who stand to lose their care in the first year of a full-on repeal. Meanwhile six years after the law’s passage, Republicans still don’t have any semblance of consensus on what to do, let alone a replacement plan that’s sufficiently detailed for it to be scored for costs and impact. Trump and his congressional allies have absolutely nothing to show for their efforts but a vague, yet intense, desire to repeal health care reform and in the process millions of Americans with preexisting conditions will once more find themselves at the mercy of insurance companies.
American Bridge President Jessica Mackler issued the following statement on Trump’s empty healthcare reform platitudes:
“Trump thinks nobody knew healthcare is “so complicated” until he just found out. But Trump’s ignorance is no joke: under Republicans’ non-plan repeal, millions of Americans would overnight find themselves uninsured and unable to get new, affordable coverage because of their preexisting conditions, even as multimillionaires like Trump and his big donors reap massive tax cuts.”
Trump Weakened the ACA Through Executive Order But Six Years Later Republican Still Have No Replacement
PBS: Donald Trump’s Executive Order Stated That “Federal Agencies Can Grant Waivers, Exemptions And Delays Of Obamacare Provisions That Would Impose Costs On States Or Individuals.” According to PBS, “Trump’s order states that federal agencies can grant waivers, exemptions and delays of ‘Obamacare’ provisions that would impose costs on states or individuals. That language appears to be aimed squarely at undoing the law’s unpopular requirement that individuals carry health insurance or face fines — a key provision of the measure former President Barack Obama signed in 2010.” [PBS, 1/21/17]
Washington Post: If Trump’s Executive Order Causes Insurers To Leave ACA Health Care Exchanges It Would Prevent Consumers From Receiving Federal Subsidies To Afford Their Coverage. According to the Washington Post, “Teresa Miller, Pennsylvania’s insurance commissioner, said Saturday that several insurers on her state’s exchange ‘seriously considered leaving the market last year’ and that Trump’s action could propel them to indeed abandon it in 2018. In fact, she added, some have raised the possibility of withdrawing from the ACA’s exchanges during 2017, which would mean consumers could keep their plans but no longer receive federal subsidies to help them afford the coverage.” [Washington Post, 1/22/17]
Health Care Experts Have Warned That As Republicans Work To Replace The ACA, Major Insurers Will Depart From The Individual Market, Shrinking The Availability Of Coverage For People With Preexisting Conditions And Making It Difficult For Many To Find Replacements. According to Business Insider, “Some health care experts warn that even if the Republicans manage to preserve that protection against discrimination for the next two years or so, while they attempt to thrash out the details of a replacement plan, major insurers like UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Blue Cross-Blue Shield are likely to accelerate their departure from the Obamacare market or substantially jack up their premiums. That would effectively shrink the availability of coverage for people with preexisting conditions. And it would mean that many of them may have trouble finding replacement coverage in the future if they lose their existing policies obtained under the Affordable Care Act, through expanded Medicaid or through an employer.” [Business Insider, 12/14/16]
Deconstructing The ACA Would Lead To Millions Of Americans Losing Insurance And Millions More Facing Higher Costs
Repealing The Affordable Care Act Would Increase The Number Of People Without Insurance By 32 Million People By 2026. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “A little more than a year ago, the Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated the budgetary effects of H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, which would repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—eliminating, in two steps, the law’s mandate penalties and subsidies but leaving the ACA’s insurance market reforms in place. […] By CBO and JCT’s estimates, enacting H.R. 3762 would increase the number of people without health insurance coverage by about 27 million in the year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies and by 32 million in 2026, relative to the number of uninsured people expected under current law.” [Congressional Budget Office, January 2017]
Prior To The Affordable Care Act, People Could Have Been Denied Coverage Or Charged Increased Rates Because Of A Pre-Existing Conditions.According to the Department of Health and Human Services, “Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies can’t refuse to cover you or charge you more just because you have a ‘pre-existing condition’ — that is, a health problem you had before the date that new health coverage starts. They also can’t charge women more than men. These rules went into effect for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. What This Means for You Health insurers can no longer charge more or deny coverage to you or your child because of a pre-existing health condition like asthma, diabetes, or cancer. They cannot limit benefits for that condition either. Once you have insurance, they can’t refuse to cover treatment for your pre-existing condition. Learn more about coverage for pre-existing conditions.” [Department of Health and Human Services, Accessed 9/29/16]
The Affordable Care Act Gave 71 Million Americans Access To Preventive Services Like Colonoscopy Screenings, Pap Smears, Mammograms, Well-Child Visits, Flu Shots, And Contraception Free Of Charge. According to TIME, “Obamacare requires all new employer health plans to cover a range of preventive services at no charge to you when you go for care. This has been one of the most popular pieces of the law. It’s estimated that 71 million Americans gained expanded access to services such as colonoscopy screenings, Pap smears and mammograms, well-child visits, and flu shots for both children and adults — all with no cost-sharing. In addition, most women with work-based health insurance have access to contraception with no co-pay, deductible or co-insurance.” [TIME, 1/23/17]
The Contraceptive Mandate Stemming From The Obama Administration’s Interpretation Of The ACA Saved Women An Estimated $438 Million Per Year; Trump’s Administration Will Likely Make It One Of The First Things To Go. According to FiveThirtyEight, “The Affordable Care Act also mandates that insurance plans cover a set of services without charging for them (beyond monthly insurance premiums), but it’s up to HHS to lay out the specifics. For example, that part of the ACA that requires contraceptives be provided to insured women free of co-pays or deductibles? That’s not written in the law; it was part of how the law was interpreted by the Obama administration. By one estimate, that interpretation saved women $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket spending from 2012 to 2015. Another estimate found savings of $483 million in a single year. The contraceptive mandate has been an object of ire and the subject of a Supreme Court case, and is likely to be one of the first things to go.” [FiveThirtyEight, 1/21/17]
Repeal could end coverage for 1.8 million people who have undergone addiction or mental health treatment. According to ABC News, “Repeal could end coverage for 1.8 million people who have undergone addiction or mental health treatment and could cut $5.5 billion in spending on such services, said Richard Frank, a health economist at Harvard Medical School.” [ABC News, 2/22/17]
Published: Feb 28, 2017