The changes Trump’s executive order envisions would not alter the constraints imposed by the ACA or other federal statutes. They would work within those constraints. These changes would allow many consumers to avoid the ACA exchanges and ObamaCare’s hidden taxes—but then again, so did President Obama when he created “grandmothered” plans. They would make the costs of community rating, essential health benefits, and other hidden taxes more transparent—but so did “grandmothered” plans, as well as the steps President Obama took with Congress to increase premium-assistance-tax-credit clawbacks and to limit risk-corridor subsidies.
. . .
President Donald Trump plans to end a key set of Obamacare subsidies that helped lower-income enrollees pay for health care, the White House said Thursday, a dramatic move that raises questions about the law’s future.
The West Virginia Insurance Commission approved rate increases for Highmark West Virginia and CareSource Insurance’s services sold in the “Obamacare” exchange.
MetroNews learned Tuesday premiums for Highmark West Virginia will increase by 25.6 percent, while CareSource Insurance will have a 19.6-percent increase in its rate.
Eight-five percent of the around 25,000 residents who received health care through the exchange last year received a government subsidy, but those who did not saw a 32-percent increase in monthly premiums.
. . .
President Trump’s executive order directs federal agencies to write new rules that would allow consumers to buy less regulated, less expensive health insurance plans. The agencies will take months to enact new regulations and after that it’s unclear when consumers should expect premium relief. But this could be a game changer for those seeking more insurance options than have been permitted under ObamaCare.
President Trump is wielding his rule-making power to get closer to his goal of repealing and replacing Obamacare. His executive order issued Thursday broadly tasks the administration with developing policies to increase health care competition and choice in order to improve the quality of health care and lower prices. The order, President Trump said, would give “millions of Americans with Obamacare relief.”
. . .
One piece of this week’s order directs the Labor Department to “consider expanding access” to Association Health Plans, which would allow small businesses to team up to offer insurance. The order also seeks to expand the flexibility and use of health reimbursement arrangements, giving employees more flexibility in how they spend the pretax dollars in their accounts, including paying insurance premiums. A third part of the order directs cabinet agencies to consider new rules on allowing short-term insurance plans for up to a year to cover periods between more stable coverage (from the three months allowed Obama administration rules).
. . .
The plan Iowa has developed to salvage its insurance market — the Iowa Stopgap Measure — suffers three major flaws.
- Although the Iowa Stopgap Measure helps upper middle class Iowans afford health insurance, it illegally deprives poorer Iowans of the ability to make use of health insurance.
- The Iowa Stopgap Measure creates effective marginal tax rates of more than 100% on many individuals, particularly those over 50, and excessive effective marginal tax on many others.
- Unless there’s more to its fuzzy math than it has heretofore presented, the Iowa plan costs the federal government a good deal of money.
Don’t add rejection of the Iowa waiver to the list of acts of sabotage of the ACA by the Trump administration. This is an instance where the President has faithfully executed the law. And if that law is not working or if the waiver criteria are too strict, it is to Congress that complaint should be made.
. . .
President Trump will sign an executive order on Thursday morning aimed at taking action on health care after Congress’s failure to repeal ObamaCare.
In a strongly worded letter to the Trump administration, Oklahoma’s health commissioner recently expressed frustration that a state waiver to lower costs for Obamacare customers had not been approved as quickly as federal officials had promised.
The proposal called for a reinsurance program in which government funding pays for costly medical claims while keeping prices down for other customers. Having run out of time to make a dent in premiums, the state decided to withdraw its waiver. Health commissioner Terry Cline lamented the months that Oklahoma officials spent developing a plan, followed by six weeks of daily calls or emails with federal officials, with no results.
. . .
Congressional Republicans have failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but some of them aren’t ready to stop campaigning on that promise. “I don’t see any problem with talking about repeal and replace. We still want to do it. It’s not over,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said.
. . .