President Donald Trump signed an order on Thursday to make it easier for Americans to buy bare-bones health insurance plans, using his presidential powers to sabotage the Affordable Care Act after Republicans in Congress failed to repeal the 2010 law.
Trump’s executive order would allow small businesses band together across state lines to buy cheaper, less regulated health insurance plans that may their employees with fewer benefits or gaps in coverage.
Since he took office in January, Trump has been promising to dismantle Democratic former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.
Cheaper insurance plans may not cover essential health expenses such as maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, and mental health and addiction treatment. Those features are required under the current law, known informally as Obamacare.
By comparison, Trump-care means sick and injured people may not know about crucial gaps in coverage until they get turned down for treatment or discover themselves buried in medical bills that force them into bankruptcy.
Democratic state attorneys general have are expected to sue the federal government over Trump’s effort to destroy Obamacare.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, “It should come as no surprise that California is prepared to fight in court to protect affordable health care for its people.”
The largest hospital association warned that an executive order signed by President Trump on Thursday could destabilize insurance markets and make coverage unaffordable for people with pre-existing conditions.
“Patients depend on comprehensive health insurance to access and afford the care they need, including services provided by America’s hospitals and health systems,” said Tom Nickels, vice president of the American Hospital Association. “Today’s Executive Order will allow health insurance plans that cover fewer benefits and offer fewer consumer protections. No one can predict future health care needs with complete certainty and such plans could put patients at risk when care is needed most.”
“In addition, these provisions could destabilize the individual and small group markets, leaving millions of Americans who need comprehensive coverage to manage chronic and other pre-existing conditions, as well as protection against unforeseen illness and injury, without affordable options,” said Nickels.
“After seven years of Republican complaining, the only sensible option is Medicare for All,” said Lisa McCormick, a vocal critic of the GOP, corporate influence in politics and government corruption. “Leaving millions of Americans without health insurance is tantamount to killing people. The GOP has no plan to replace Obamacare and the only alternative is Medicare for All.”
“This Executive Order is yet another example of President Trump working relentlessly to sabotage the Affordable Care Act,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “By weakening coverage requirements on some plans, called association health plans, this order will destabilize health care markets and drive up insurance costs, particularly for older Americans and people with pre-existing conditions.”
“Before the consumer protection measures guaranteed by the ACA, association health plans ripped off consumers and left hundreds of thousands of Americans with unpaid medical bills,” said Booker. “This Executive Order will also permit insurance companies to move to expand the kind of short-term junk plans that don’t provide critical care for people when they need it most.”
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