Donald Trump is overtly sabotaging insurance markets as he pushes Trumpcare on the country, and it’s now costing Washington State. Today, the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner announced that as a result of Trump destabilizing the market, “Eleven health insurers filed 71 health plans for Washington state’s 2018 individual and family health insurance market, with an average proposed rate increase of 22.3 percent.”
This news comes after Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to unilaterally cut off Affordable Care Act funding that is critical to 7 million working Americans having health insurance, which is roiling markets.
”Donald Trump is sabotaging the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and the people of Washington State are going to pay the price. He’s deliberately undermining the insurance markets and hurting people right now all in the name of partisan politics – and his reckless behavior can’t continue,” said American Bridge Vice President Shripal Shah. “Washingtonians deserve far better. It’s time for Trump and Republicans in Washington State to side with the majority of the American people who want them to work across the aisle to improve the Affordable Care Act instead of actively sabotaging the health insurance market.”
Trump himself has said that holding these payments hostage is a political negotiating tactic intended to pressure Democrats into supporting Trumpcare, and in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Trump even acknowledged that acting on his threat would hurt people.
The threat itself is hurting people in Washington State right now. And this is being enabled by congressional Republicans who support Trumpcare and who have failed to protect Washington State from Donald Trump’s sabotage of their health care.
Trump’s hostage strategy has destabilized American insurance markets at a time when health insurers face deadlines for the coverage they will offer consumers next year. As a result, people in many places across the country – and now including Washington State – will be hurt because of the completely needless uncertainty that Trump is causing.
Recently the health insurance industry, as well as the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on Trump and congressional Republicans to fully fund these Affordable Care Act subsidies and calm insurance markets, but their request was not accepted.
Trump not only continues to hold cost-sharing subsidies hostage, but has also indicated that he may not enforce the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which would further drive-up prices, and is contributing to instability in the insurance market.
TRUMP HAS THREATENED TO END AFFORDABLE CARE ACT COST-SHARING FUNDS:
- Wall Street Journal, 4/12/2017: “Nearly three weeks after Republican infighting sank an overhaul of the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump dug back into the battle on Wednesday, threatening to withhold payments to insurers to force Democrats to the negotiating table.”
- Axios, 5/2/2017: “Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney reopened the debate over Affordable Care Act payments to insurers this afternoon, suggesting at a White House briefing that the Trump administration hasn’t decided whether to provide the May payments for cost-sharing reduction subsidies.”
TRUMP’S THREATS ARE DESTABILIZING INSURANCE MARKETS :
America’s Health Insurance Plans, et al. in Letter to Donald Trump, 4/12/2017: “A critical priority is to stabilize the individual health insurance market. The window is quickly closing to properly price individual insurance products for 2018. The most critical action to help stabilize the individual market for 2017 and 2018 is to remove uncertainty about continued funding for cost sharing reductions (CSRs)….We urge the Administration and Congress to take quick action to ensure CSRs are funded.“
Additional organizations that signed the letter:
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Benefits Council
American Hospital Association
American Medical Association
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
Federation of American Hospitals
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
TRUMP’S THREAT IS CAUSING INSURERS TO RAISE PRICES ON CONSUMERS:
Vox, 5/8/2017: “The administration has been aggressively ambiguous about key policy issues, like whether it will enforce the health care law’s individual mandate or pay out insurance subsidies aimed at the lowest-income Obamacare enrollees. In response, insurance executives tell Vox they will charge steeper rates in 2018 in order to avoid losing money. Others are quitting the marketplace altogether, saying the future just looks to uncertain to take a gamble.”
Robert Laszewski, Health Policy and Strategy Associates, 5/8/2017: “The health plans I work with want to stay in, but the Trump administration is not making that easy…”
Blue Shield of California CEO Paul Markovich, 5/8/2017: “It’s pretty clear we need more certainty to be able to file the rates assuming we get those federal payments…Short of that, we’d have to assume they’re not being paid.”
Avalere President Dan Mendelson, 5/10/2017: “The administration is leaving considerable uncertainty as to what’s going to happen next year…The [cost-sharing reduction] money is currently a significant political football that’s going back and forth, and that kind of uncertainty kills markets.”
Bloomberg, 5/9/2017: “Health insurers are asking for sharp increases in the cost of their Obamacare plans next year, thanks to instability in the law’s coverage markets that’s been compounded by the Trump administration.”
Bloomberg, 5/9/2017: “‘Failure to enforce the individual mandate makes it far more likely that healthier, younger individuals will drop coverage and drive up the cost for everyone,’ Chet Burrell, chief executive officer of CareFirst, said in a statement. The insurer is asking for an at least 50 percent increase in premiums in Maryland. Burrell said uncertainty over the mandate played a ‘significant role’ in the insurer’s rate requests.
ENDING COST-SHARING SUBSIDIES WOULD CAUSE HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS TO SPIKE FOR 7 MILLION AMERICANS:
Kaiser Family Foundation, 4/6/2017: “A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis finds that the average premium for a benchmark silver plan in Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces would need to increase by an estimated 19 percent for insurers to compensate for lost funding if they don’t receive federal payment for ACA cost-sharing subsidies….Among 12.2 million people who selected a 2017 ACA marketplace plan, about 58 percent, or 7.1 million, are receiving cost-sharing reductions.”