SHOT:

CMS Chief Seema Verma Slams Claims That She And Trump Administration Have Sabotaged Americans’ Health Care [MedPage Today]:

“‘I take exception to those out there who have made claims that we have tried to sabotage the healthcare of the American people, particularly when it comes to the healthcare exchanges,’ [Verma] said here at the World Health Care Congress. ‘Obamacare was failing long before Donald Trump became president and I became CMS administrator.’

“The reality, said Verma, is that health insurers have fled the exchange markets ‘after losing millions of dollars.’”

CHASER:

Since President Trump Came Into Office, Millions Of Americans Have Lost Health Coverage. A recent survey by the Commonwealth Fund shows that nearly 4 million people have lost coverage since 2016. The uninsured rate among working age people is now 15.5 percent, a significant increase from 12.7 percent in 2016.

Why? Because The Trump Administration Has Sabotaged The Affordable Care Act. Per Axios, “Commonwealth attributes the increase largely to the way Congress and the Trump administration has handled the ACA.”

CHASER:

More Evidence Of The Administration’s Sabotage: Health Care Premiums Will Increase By An Average of 18.3 Percent In 2019. Because Republicans repealed the requirement that most people have insurance and are expanding access to short-term health plans, the nonpartisan Urban Institute estimates that health care premiums will increase by an average of 18.3 percent in 2019.

CHASER:

The Administration Is Bringing Back Junk Insurance That Leaves Americans On Their Own Should They Get Sick. The Trump Administration expanding access to short-term health plans that let insurers deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, impose coverage limits, and refuse to cover basic health benefits like maternity care and prescription drugs. These plans help insurers make money while leaving Americans who get sick on their own, often with tremendous debt.

Experts, Disease Groups, And Advocates Warn That Short-Term Plans Will Increase Costs And Reduce Protections For Consumers:

AARP: Short-Term Plans Will Increase Older Americans’ Premiums By An Average Of $2,000, or As Much As $4,000. “Unfortunately, these changes would result in much higher premiums for older adults and people with preexisting health conditions buying individual policies through the ACA Marketplace…Using 2018 Marketplace premiums, we estimate these premium increases could be an average of $2,000 — or as much as $4,000 (Table 1) — for 60 year-olds who buy silver plan coverage.” [AARP, 3/21/18]

Margaret Murray, CEO of Association for Community Affiliated Plans: Short Term Plans “strip every provision that might be of value to a patient.” “Not only do STLDI plans not cover pre-existing conditions, but what was covered when you bought the plan can be excluded three months later when you try to renew the plan. Rescissions are rampant in the STLDI market, leading to retroactive cancellation of policies that stick patients with enormous medical bills.” [Washington Examiner, 4/26/18]

American Academy of Family Physicians: Short-Term Plans Would Destabilize Market. “We are troubled by how the proposed rule would further destabilize the individual market by drawing young, healthy people away from meaningful, comprehensive coverage…under the proposed rule, insurers could reduce or eliminate certain EHBs to avoid vulnerable, expensive patients by excluding specific services.” [Letter to HHS, 4/18/18]

Dr. David O. Barbe, president of American Medical Association: Short-Term Plans Result In “Inadequate” Health Coverage. “We believe the proposed rule, however, would culminate in plans being offered that fall far short of maintaining crucial state and federal patient protections, disrupt and destabilize the individual health insurance markets, and result in substandard, inadequate health insurance coverage.” [Forbes, 4/22/18]

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: Short-Term Plans Are Exempt From Consumer Protections. “We are very concerned about policies that would expand access to STLD policies because these products are exempt from important consumer protections, such as prohibitions on lifetime and annual dollar limits, limits on the use of pre-existing condition exclusions, and the prohibition on medical underwriting…We are afraid that some consumers choose to enroll in STLD policies simply because of the lower premium and are unaware of the limitations of the coverage.” [ACS CAN letter to HHS, 4/20/18]

Alliance of Community Health Plans: Short-Term Plans Will Cause Insurers To Flee The Market.  “ACHP is also concerned that the proposed rule will cause more insurers to flee the market, leaving consumers with fewer coverage options.” [Letter to HHS, 4/19/18]