Last week, the Trump Administration announced its latest move to sabotage the Affordable Care Act: short-term, junk health plans. These plans will be allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and eliminate guarantees that essential services like maternity and cancer care be covered. The new junk plans would leave people who get sick on the hook for substantial medical bills and destabilize the individual insurance marketplaces by encouraging insurers to cherry-pick who gets covered.
But don’t just take our word for it – here’s what the country’s leading editorial boards are saying:
Washington Post: This Trump Administration Health-Care Rule Would Return Us to the Bad Old Days. “The department’s plan would allow insurance companies to sell virtually unregulated health policies. This would signal a return to the bad old days when insurers could sharply limit benefits, impose caps on coverage and discriminate against people with preexisting conditions… Allowing healthy people to buy junk insurance plans is not worth risking sick and vulnerable people’s access to real coverage.” [2/26/18]
New York Times: Trump Tries to Kill Obamacare By a Thousand Cuts. “Not mentioned in the department’s talking points is the fact that these policies do not cover things like mental health services, substance abuse treatment, cancer drugs and maternity care. As a result, people who buy skimpy plans could end up being hit with exorbitant bills if they actually need medical care… If the administration were actually serious about reducing health care costs, it would try to improve the A.C.A., not dismantle it, [working with Congress to offer subsidies to middle-class families or pushing for the creation of a national reinsurance program that encourages insurers to offer policies at lower costs by protecting against steep losses]. But Mr. Trump and his Republican allies in Congress seem unwilling to pursue constructive health care policies because they are obsessed with undoing Obamacare. Regrettably, the cost for their rage will be the health care of millions of low-income and middle-class families.” [2/21/18]
Los Angeles Times: The Trump Administration Wants to Cut Premiums for the Healthy at the Expense of the Sick. Again. “These plans don’t have to comply with Obamacare’s insurance reforms, which means they typically provide much less coverage — and that they may not be as cheap, or as available, for people with preexisting conditions. Oh and yes, it would likely cost the taxpayers more. The vast majority of the people who shop in the Obamacare exchanges are low- to moderate-income Americans who receive federal subsidies; when premiums go up, their subsidies rise to cover the increase. That’s just one of the wrongheaded aspects of the proposal. The way to reduce premiums in that market is to pool risks more broadly by bringing more healthy people in. But seemingly every step the administration and Congress have taken lately has drawn healthy people out of the exchanges. This includes ending the requirement that virtually all Americans obtain insurance (as of 2019) and letting loosely defined associations offer plans that, like the temporary policies, don’t comply with Obamacare. This nasty trend is likely to continue until voters make it stop.” [2/26/18]
Baltimore Sun: Trump’s Latest Effort to Undermine the ACA Makes Maryland Action All the More Crucial. “If the Trump administration’s goal was to increase the ranks of the uninsured, it could scarcely have thought of a better policy than the one it announced Tuesday, in which it expands the short-term insurance plans that are exempt from Affordable Care Act standards. In one stroke, it found a way to make virtually useless plans more available for healthy people while making insurance that actually covers the treatments and services needed by people who are or could become sick more expensive. Coupled with the end of the federal requirement that most taxpayers buy insurance or pay a penalty, the administration has come up with a recipe for destabilizing individual insurance markets and putting coverage out of reach for those who really need it.” [2/20/18]
Bloomberg View: A New Way to Wreck Obamacare. “The Trump administration’s latest strike on the Affordable Care Act is to expand the availability of so-called short-term health insurance. Don’t be misled by the seeming modesty of this idea. It’s an impressive combination of bad policy and bad faith… If the courts fail to stop the change to short-term health insurance, states ought to step in, and should plan for this immediately by strengthening their own regulations. They should place their own time limits on short-term policies, and demand that such plans cover the health care people need. Sadly, people in states that won’t provide this protection will be left waiting for leaders in Washington who will.” [2/23/18]