Trump Archives — Page 5 of 15 — Protect Our Care

Trump Admin Should Listen to Overwhelming Opposition & Scrap Its Junk Plan Proposal

Washington, D.C. – As an outpouring of public opposition marked today’s junk plan proposal comment deadline, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Over the past two months, Americans have clearly rejected the Trump Administration’s junk plan proposal because it would move our health care in exactly the wrong direction. We don’t want to go back to the days when insurance companies could charge more for pre-existing conditions or deny coverage altogether and when junk plans didn’t have to cover basic medical services. This rule has drawn criticism from over one hundred prominent disease groups, from the AARP, from doctors and providers, and from thousands of everyday Americans. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has confirmed that it would raise rates on the one-in-four Americans with a pre-existing condition. The Trump Administration should listen to the experts, doctors, insurance commissioners, and individual advocates who have together formed a tidal wave of opposition to junk plans, and withdraw this dangerous proposal.”


113 Groups Plead For Congress To Block Trump Administration’s Expansion Of Short-Term Health Plans: “While short-term plans can offer less expensive coverage, they are not required to adhere to important standards, including the ten essential health benefit categories, guaranteed issue, out-of-pocket maximums, age-rating protections, and many other critical consumer protections,” the groups, including the American Heart Association, Susan G. Komen, and Justice in Aging, said in an April 17 letter (PDF) to congressional leaders. [Fierce Healthcare, 4/18/18]

AARP Warning: Short-Term Health Plans = Higher Premiums for Older Adults: You might have thought that efforts to unravel the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were over, but newly proposed regulations and legislation are once again threatening to have similar harmful effects for older adults ages 50-64 who rely on individual market coverage. [AARP Blog, 3/21/18]

National Association of Insurance Commissioners Report: “Risk pool segmentation has the obvious effect of driving up premiums in the health plans that protect individuals from health status discrimination.” [NAIC, 3/22/18]

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Insurers could reduce or eliminate certain essential health benefits to avoid vulnerable, expensive patients by excluding specific services.” [Forbes, 4/22/18]

American Medical Association: “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]

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP): “Because many short-term plans are offered to consumers only after submitting information about their health status or prior medical conditions, we must also recognize that short-term plans will not meet the needs of many Americans with pre-existing health conditions.” [AHIP letter, 4/20/18]

Trump’s Tax Day: Tax Breaks For the Rich, Higher Health Care Costs For You

Washington, D.C. – On Tax Day, as millions of Americans contend with health care premiums expected to increase an average of 18 percent, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“This Tax Day, wealthy health insurers and rich pharmaceutical companies get huge tax breaks thanks to Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans. Meanwhile, people who work for a living get higher health care costs.

“The TrumpTax will take health insurance away from 13 million people and raise premiums double-digits each year for millions more to fund a trillion-dollar tax break for the wealthiest individuals and corporations. 20 Americans will lose their coverage for each millionaire’s tax break.

“Every American who sees their health care costs go up should remember this Tax Day that their rising health care costs were brought to them courtesy of Donald Trump and the GOP.”

President Trump Vows to Keep Sabotaging Affordable Care Act

Washington, D.C. – Today in Florida, President Trump vowed to continue his sabotage campaign against the Affordable Care Act, saying the GOP’s tax bill brought about “the end of Obamacare” and expressing his support for proposed association health plans, calling them ‘tremendous insurance.’ Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement in response:

“President Trump today continued his crusade against the Affordable Care Act and Americans’ health care. Trump’s war on our care already threatens millions of Americans’ insurance, is raising premiums by double-digits for millions more, and has seriously damaged the individual market – and in response, the President has decided to embrace junk insurance scams like association health plans, which have a history of fraud and have been condemned by experts across the country. The new junk plan regulation that Trump today pledged to finalize within months is likely illegal, and will certainly cause even more turmoil in the insurance markets just before next year’s rates are finalized. Plans that can deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions and refuse to cover key services like hospitalization are the exact opposite of ‘tremendous insurance,’ and they join a long list of Trump Administration actions set to cause tremendous rate hikes this fall.

“While President Trump may say that ‘nobody remembers’ the Senate health care repeal bill, the truth is that Americans have not forgotten that Republicans threatened our care. We remember that Republicans tried to put insurance companies back in control; we remember they tried to leave the one-in-four Americans with a pre-existing condition out in the cold; and we remember that Republicans ignored our voices while pushing the most unpopular legislation in decades. Standing up to the war on health care is Americans’ top priority at the polls this year. As the Trump Administration continues to attack our care through harmful regulations and Republicans in Congress plot Medicare and Medicaid cuts, Americans will keep remembering, and the President and his party are right to fear the consequences of their destructive actions.”


PRESIDENT TRUMP: So we have the biggest tax cut in history, bigger than the Reagan tax cut, bigger than any tax cut. But what else? The individual mandate is gone. That’s on Obamacare, which is about the end of Obamacare. So we had Obamacare beat and one senator decided to go thumbs down. Do you remember that evening? No, nobody remembers. Thumbs down.

It’s all right, because Alex Acosta has come up and this is the plan that a lot of people have wanted for a long time, associations. And we’re going any tremendous sign-ups. Alex, when is that going to be ready where people can start signing and doing it in groups and through cooperatives, et cetera?

LABOR SECRETARY ACOSTA: That’s right, Mr. President, we hope to have that by this summer.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s going to be incredible, you’re going to get tremendous insurance at a very low cost.

Final Open Enrollment Numbers Confirm Staying Power of ACA

Washington, D.C. – As the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the final open enrollment numbers for 2018, which showed that 11.8 million people nationwide bought Affordable Care Act marketplace coverage, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Millions of Americans rely on the Affordable Care Act for quality, affordable coverage, and today’s confirmed enrollment numbers provide clear evidence of the law’s critical importance in American health care. But for over a year, the Trump Administration has been carrying out an unprecedented sabotage campaign designed to undermine the law and make it fail. Nowhere was this more apparent that the Administration’s attacks on open enrollment, which included cutting the advertising budget by 90 percent, halving the enrollment time, and denying help for people trying to get coverage. But the American people rejected this partisan scaremongering, and now we know that 11.8 million people signed up for marketplace coverage, almost matching last year’s total enrollment despite the many obstacles the Trump Administration placed in their way. While this is heartening news, these 11.8 million people and millions more are living in fear that the Republican war on health care will hike their rates and make care prohibitively expensive or unavailable to people with pre-existing conditions.

“The American people don’t want to go back to a time when insurers could deny them health care for having a pre-existing condition or be priced out of the market based on their age, gender, or medical history. The Affordable Care Act is a lifeline for millions of Americans, and Republicans’ continuing attempts to undermine the law are being met with resistance through enrollment, protests, and at the ballot box as the American continue to say: enough is enough – it’s time for Republicans to end their war on our care.”

Kaiser Poll Confirms Public Support for Affordable Care Act

This morning, on the 8th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act’s signing, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s March Health Tracking Poll finds that the law’s popularity remains above water, with half of Americans having a favorable opinion. The poll also confirms that Americans want Congress to improve the law, not to repeal it, with 63% saying Republicans in Congress should focus their efforts on improvements and only 32% supporting repeal.

“Today’s tracking poll confirms that after eight years, the Affordable Care Act has stood the test of time and is now woven into the fabric of the American health care system. Two-thirds of the public want to see the law improved and strengthened. Unfortunately, just this week, Republicans in Congress continued to ignore Americans’ desire to improve health care by refusing to pass bipartisan stabilization legislation to undo some of the rate hikes President Trump has caused with his relentless sabotage of the Affordable Care Act. It’s time for Republicans to listen to their constituents, who want Congress to put the partisan fight over the Affordable Care Act in the rearview mirror once and for all, and start working on bipartisan fixes and improvements. And it’s time for President Trump to face up to the facts and stop his Administration’s ongoing sabotage of our health care system,” said Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse.

President Trump Ignores Real Opioid Solutions

Washington, D.C. – Today, President Trump spoke in New Hampshire about the opioid crisis. Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement in response:

“Heavy with rhetoric and short on solutions, President Trump’s speech today in New Hampshire was more of the same from a White House more committed to politicizing the opioid crisis than ending it. The Trump Administration has relentlessly attacked and sabotaged Medicaid, proposing to cut funding by hundreds of billions for the program that pays for one-fifth of all substance abuse treatment nationwide, and for two successive years has proposed a 95% cut to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, charged with coordinating the federal response to the nation’s raging opioid crisis.

“If the White House truly cared about combating the opioid epidemic, they would be calling for every state that hadn’t expanded Medicaid to do so. That they’re not tells you all you need to know.”

REACTION ROUNDUP: Health Care Proves Political Asset for Democrats in PA-18


Allison Stephens, D-Candidate for NV04: “In #PA18, 53% of dem voters & 63% of independent voters were opposed to #ACA repeal. One thing is clear: healthcare will be a deciding issue in 2018. The GOP must abandon repeal. We need access to quality, affordable healthcare in #NV04. #ProtectOurCare” [Allison Stephens, 3/14/18]

Christina Hartman, D-Candidate for PA10: “My opponent @RepScottPerry is a member of the House @freedomcaucus that pushed to gut protections for those with preexisting conditions. #PA10 voters will remember in November. #PA18 @ProtectOurCare #TrumpCare” [Christina Hartman, 3/14/18]

Pat Ryan, D-Candidate for NY19: “Must continue to remind voters in #NY19 that @RepJohnFaso (and fellow Rs) voted to rip healthcare away from our community. Protecting healthcare for working families key to @ConorLambPA victory in #PA18; cc @1199UpstateNY #ProtectOurCare” [Pat Ryan, 3/14/18]

Eddie Sundquist, D-Candidate for NY23: “ The voters of #PA18 proved that we will not stand idly by when Republicans like @RepTomReed vote to take away healthcare from 68,000 #NY23 constituents. A diagnosis should not be a death sentence or mean financial ruin.” [Eddie Sundquist, 3/14/18]


Andy Slavitt, top Obama Administration health official: “BREAKING: Even with #PA18 officially too close to call, health care voters carried the day. 52% of voters ranked health care as a top issue. By 64-36, those voters favored @ConorLambPA.” [Andy Slavitt, 3/14/18]

Tom Perez: “That’s when we do well. That’s how Doug Jones won. He was talking about kitchen table issues, he was talking about healthcare. Conor Lamb was talking about health care… that’s how we’re winning elections by talking about those shared issues. That’s what Conor was fighting for. He was fighting for access to health care — the number one issue for voters in district 18, as it was across the country was health care. And they understand that Democrats believe health care should be a right for all and not a privilege for many.” [MSNBC, 3/14/18]

Mario Molina, former CEO of Molina Healthcare: “Reassuring to hear @ConorLambPA talk about the importance and support of critical health and safety net programs. “They are America’s way of saying, ‘We are all in this together.'” [Mario Molina, 3/14/18]

Steven Dennis, Bloomberg reporter: “ACA opposition *used* to be solid gold for GOP Conor Lamb took mend it, don’t end it position; PPP (D) poll found ACA at 44/42 approval in #PA18” [Steven Dennis, 3/14/18]

DNC: Voters Reject Trump-Republican Agenda. “Health care was a top issue in last night’s election and Conor Lamb won those voters by a wide margin, making it clear voters reject Republican policies that have already left millions more Americans without health insurance and sent premiums skyrocketing.” [DNC to press list, 3/14/18]

Topher Spiro, Vice President for health policy at Center for American Progress: “BOOM. This is it. Any vulnerable Republican who voted to repeal health care is toast.” [Topher Spiro, 3/14/18]

Jonathan Cohn, Senior National Correspondent at Huffington Post: “Maybe trying to take health insurance from millions of people is a political loser.” [Jonathan Cohn, 3/14/18]


The Week: GOP efforts to kill ObamaCare might have tipped the scales for Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania’s special election [3/14/18]

ThinkProgress: Pennsylvania voters say the GOP’s health care antics cost Saccone their vote [3/14/18]

Daily Intelligencer: 5 Lessons From the Pennsylvania Special Election [3/14/18]

MarketWatch: Pennsylvania Democrat Lamb had upper hand with voters on health care, poll finds [3/14/18]

Vox: Conor Lamb decisively won the health care vote in the Pennsylvania special election [3/14/18]

Health Care Voters Propel Lamb to Victory

Pennsylvania Voters Reject GOP Repeal & Sabotage Agenda

Washington, D.C. – As a PPP exit poll shows that dissatisfaction with Republicans’ war on health care drove voters to deliver a Democratic victory in a district that Donald Trump won by nearly twenty points in 2016, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Yesterday’s historic win in Pennsylvania should be the clearest message yet to Republicans that their war on health care is not just a political loser, but an albatross around the neck of any candidate who supports their destructive repeal-and-sabotage agenda.

“Rick Saccone has became the latest candidate to throw his lot in with President Trump’s war on health care and then suffer a once-unthinkable defeat. While Saccone called for a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act and backed the unpopular GOP repeal bills that would have thrown tens of millions of Americans off of their insurance and raised costs for millions more, Conor Lamb defended the Affordable Care Act and called for legislative action to improve the law and expand on its successes – and Pennsylvania voters responded by sending him to Washington.

“A PPP exit poll of PA-18 voters shows they broke for Lamb because of his commitment to improving the Affordable Care Act and opposition to the Republican repeal-and-sabotage agenda. In a district that voted Trump by almost 20 points, a majority of voters now support the Affordable Care Act, and last year’s repeal efforts were a drag on the Republican candidate, making 41% of voters less likely to support him.

“Last night’s exit poll makes it crystal clear that health care decided this race, echoing recent elections in Virginia, and across the country, as voters across the nation continue to say: enough is enough – it’s time to stand up to Republicans and stop the war on our care.”


Lamb: Congress Should Be Working Together To Build On ACA’s Progress, Fix What Isn’t Working, And Make The Law Better.

On his campaign website, Lamb writes, “I believe that every American has a right to go see a doctor when they’re sick, and that means every American has a right to health insurance they can afford. The Affordable Care Act has flaws, but it has provided affordable coverage to more than a million Pennsylvanians who were previously uninsured. Our representatives in Congress should be working together to build on that progress, fix what isn’t working, and make the law better. Instead, Republicans in Congress spent the past year trying to take health insurance away from people with no plan to replace it. Now, costs are likely to go up for many of us, especially those with preexisting conditions. That is unacceptable, and it’s a failure of leadership.”  Conor Lamb Campaign Website, Priorities, Affordable Health Care]

Lamb: GOP Leaders Have Not Even Allowed A Vote To Stabilize ACA Markets. 

On his campaign website, Lamb writes, “Republican leaders have not even allowed a vote on a bipartisan, common-sense effort to strengthen the ACA and stabilize the markets. And it took the threat of a government shutdown for both parties to come together and fund the children’s health program (CHIP), something they’d ignored for months while the program was forced to survive on week-to-week bailouts. These legislative failures show what is wrong with the status quo in Washington. I’ll work with anyone from either party who wants to help people with pre-existing conditions, improve the quality of care, and reduce premiums, out-of-pocket costs, and prescription drug prices.” [Conor Lamb Campaign Website, Priorities, Affordable Health Care]

Saccone Called For Full Repeal Of The ACA And Said AHCA Did Not Go Far Enough.

Saccone, in an interview on 790 WAEB, agreed that the AHCA does not go far enough. When the show’s host trashed AHCA as insufficiently right wing, Saccone said the host was “absolutely right.” Later, when asked if he favors full repeal of the ACA, Saccone replied, “absolutely; got to go.” [WAEB, 3/9/17]

Saccone Promised To “Fix” Obamacare By Utilizing “Free-Market Principles To Fix Our Healthcare Crisis.”

Under the heading “Fixing Obamacare,” Saccone’s website states, “Under Obamacare, health insurance has become unaffordable. Rick Saccone will utilize free-market principles to fix our healthcare crisis.” [RickSaccone.com, accessed 3/13/18]

Saccone Dismissed Concern About People Losing Health Coverage As “Typical Democrats Talking Points.”

“Conor Lamb, the Democratic candidate in the special election wasn’t available to speak on camera on Wednesday. On his campaign website, he claimed Republicans have been ‘trying to take health insurance away from people with no plan to replace it. Now, costs are likely to go up for many of us, especially those with preexisting conditions. That is unacceptable, and it’s a failure of leadership.’ Told of Lamb’s stand, Saccone said, ‘That’s typical Democrats talking points. Look, the price of health care was skyrocketing under Obamacare.’” [WTAE, 1/31/18]

Club For Growth Endorsed Saccone Because Of His Commitment To Repealing The ACA. 

“Today, the Club for Growth PAC announced its endorsement of Rick Saccone for the U.S. House of Representatives.  Saccone is running for the open seat vacated earlier this year by Tim Murphy (PA-18). ‘Club for Growth PAC is proud to endorse Rick Saccone in his run for Congress,’ stated Club for Growth PAC President David McIntosh.  ‘Rick is a constitutional conservative who supports lower taxes, repealing Obamacare, and limiting the size of government. In his time serving in the General Assembly, Rick has proven to be a strong conservative voice and been a strong advocate for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers.’” [Club for Growth Press Release, 12/19/17]

Saccone Applauded Repeal Of The Individual Mandate.

“I am pleased that the House and Senate have come together and passed a repeal of the onerous and punitive Obamacare mandate that was forced upon the country by the liberal wing of the Democratic Party led by Nancy Pelosi. The repeal was supported by 63% of Americans who agreed that the individual mandate tax was an excessive encroachment on taxpayers.  Alarmingly, the mandate disproportionately hurt low-income households – the very people Obamacare was to care for. According to the IRS, nearly 80 percent of households that pay the penalty make less than $50,000 annually. As a result, low-income families paid up to $2,085 this year not being able to afford health insurance. Obamacare premiums have skyrocketed so high that millions of Americans were forced to pay the penalty because they could not afford coverage.” [Rick Saccone for Congress Press Release, 12/21/17]

Saccone: “While Health Care Coverage Is Vital To All Of Us, The Government Should Not Involve Itself In Our Health Care Decisions.”

“While health care coverage is vital to all of us, the government should not involve itself in our health care decisions. We are all too aware of the inefficiencies of government bureaucracy, and the last thing that we need is for them to meddle with our health. I join the majority of Americans today in applauding Congress for repealing the Obamacare mandate penalty that will no longer burden taxpayers.” [Rick Saccone for Congress Press Release, 12/21/17]

“Premiums Could Increase 90 Percent”: The Trump Administration’s Effect on Future Premiums By the Headlines

Yesterday, Covered California released an analysis outlining the future of the individual market under the Trump Administration and its constant barrage of sabotage. Its findings were striking:

  • All states’ individual markets risk higher than normal premium increases — ranging from 35 to 90 percent over three years — due to continued uncertainty at the federal level.
  • Premium increases in the individual markets will likely range from 12 to 32 percent in 2019, and cumulative increases from 2019-2021 will range from 35 percent to more than 90 percent.
  • Increases are on average more than double the rate of medical inflation as a result of healthier consumers leaving the individual market.
  • 17 states are more likely — because of their historic risk mix and enrollment — to have cumulative premium increases of 90 percent or more and 19 additional states are at a higher risk of experiencing hikes of 50 percent.

All in all, the report makes clear in no uncertain terms just how much the repeal and sabotage campaign being carried out by the Trump Administration and its Republican allies in Congress is harming Americans. Here’s how the report was covered in headlines:

Washington Post: Premiums for ACA health insurance plans could jump 90 percent in three years

The Hill: Study: ObamaCare premiums could increase 90 percent over three years for some states

Insurance Business Magazine: Report: States could see average health premium increases up to 30%

Salon: Health care premiums set to spike highest in Trump country

San Francisco Chronicle: California health insurance premiums could soar, analysis projects

Berkshire Eagle: Premiums for plans could jump 90% in 3 years

Stamford Advocate: Study: Connecticut premiums could rise 35 percent

CT Post: Study: Connecticut premiums could rise 35 percent

KCRA: California health care exchange head says rates to increase

REACTION ROUNDUP: Despite “Wildly Illegal” Affordable Care Act End-Run, Trump Administration Urges Idaho to Continue Sabotage

Yesterday, the Trump Administration confirmed that Idaho’s Affordable Care Act end-run is wildly illegal. Even so, CMS encouraged Idaho to explore other ways to sabotage the law.

Here’s a roundup of reactions to the Trump Administration’s continuing bad faith on protecting Idahoans’ health care:

Idaho Statesman: “With Some Modifications, The Noncompliant Plans Could Be Turned Into Short-term Plans For Customers.”

“Verma said her agency was sympathetic to Idaho officials’ concerns, and said President Trump is ‘committed to doing everything in his power to increase competition, choice, and access to lower-priced, high-quality health care options for all Americans.’ ‘As you know, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is failing to deliver quality health care options to the American people and has damaged health insurance markets across the nation, including Idaho’s,’ Verma wrote, noting that premium rates for coverage through the Idaho health insurance exchange have increased by more than 91 percent from 2014 to 2018, while insurance companies continue to incur losses. Verma also outlined some options that she believes Idaho could legally take under a recently proposed federal rule. That rule would expand the availability of short-term, limited duration health insurance by allowing consumers to buy short-term plans that would cover them for just under a year. She said that with some modifications, the noncompliant plans could be turned into short-term plans for customers.” [Idaho Statesman, 3/8/18]

Sen. Ron Wyden: “While They Claim To Be Upholding The Law, They Are Explicitly Inviting Idaho And Other States To Sell Short-term, Junk Insurance — The Exact Opposite Of The Protections Put In Place By The Affordable Care Act.”

“ObamaCare supporters were pleased but not overly impressed by the CMS move. ‘The Trump administration is talking out of both sides of their mouth,’ said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). ‘While they claim to be upholding the law, they are explicitly inviting Idaho and other states to sell short-term, junk insurance — the exact opposite of the protections put in place by the Affordable Care Act.’” [The Week, 3/8/18]

New York Times: “Verma Said That Idaho Had Other Options And Could Perhaps Achieve Much Of What It Wanted To Do Under A Regulation Proposed Last Month By Mr. Trump.”

“While rejecting the Idaho plan in its current form, Ms. Verma encouraged the state to keep trying, and she suggested that ‘with certain modifications,’ its proposal might be acceptable… Ms. Verma said that Idaho had other options and could perhaps achieve much of what it wanted to do under a regulation proposed last month by Mr. Trump.” [New York Times, 3/8/18]

Washington Post: “‘We Sincerely Appreciate Your Dedication To The People Of Idaho And Your Efforts To Address The Damage Caused By The [ACA],” Said The Letter.”

“The four-page letter to Idaho Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter (R) and Cameron, made public early Thursday evening, straddles the Trump administration’s antipathy for the ACA with its need to enforce the sprawling 2010 health-care law that is a path to insurance coverage for millions of Americans. ‘We sincerely appreciate your dedication to the people of Idaho and your efforts to address the damage caused by the [ACA],” said the letter, signed by CMS Administrator Seema Verma. The letter said the president is eager to give states ‘as much flexibility as possible under the law to address the unique needs of their health insurance markets.’” [Washington Post, 3/8/18]

Rep Frank Pallone: “The Administration Continues Its Many Efforts To Undermine The Law And Chip Away At Its Protections, Including By Encouraging Idaho To Sell Junk Plans In Another Way.”

“Democrats cheered the Trump administration’s decision, but they still criticized other actions HHS has taken in recent months to weaken the law. ‘Make no mistake, however, while this is the right decision, the Administration continues its many efforts to undermine the law and chip away at its protections, including by encouraging Idaho to sell junk plans in another way,’ said Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.” [Politico, 3/8/18]

Talking Points Memo: “Verma Notes In The Letter That Enforcing The ACA Is ‘Certainly Not Our Preference.”

“Verma notes in the letter that enforcing the ACA is “certainly not our preference,” and encourages Idaho to find ways within the letter of the law to accomplish the same goals. She specifically advises the state to look into creating short-term health insurance plans—which recently received the Trump administration’s blessing to be sold in violation of the ACA’s regulations. [TPM, 3/8/18]

Bloomberg: “The White House Has Suggested To Congress That People Should Be Able To Renew Short-term Plans Without Being Subject To Medical Underwriting, The Process By Which Insurers Can Exclude Or Charge More For Pre-Existing Conditions.”

“Idaho’s proposal has put the Trump administration in a position it has found itself in before: charged with upholding a law it wants to get rid of, and that it has taken active steps to dismantle. Verma left open the possibility that plans like the state was proposing could be sold in a different form. If they were offered as short-term policies instead of annual coverage, they might be allowable, she said. The administration has pushed short-term plans as a way to offer consumers less expensive, less comprehensive options. In her letter to Idaho authorities, Verma said that ‘with certain modifications, these state-based plans could be legally offered’ as short-term plans. The White House has suggested to Congress that people should be able to renew short-term plans without being subject to medical underwriting, the process by which insurers can exclude or charge more for pre-existing conditions.” [Bloomberg, 3/8/18]

CNN: “Verma [Said] That She Wanted To Work With Idaho And Other States To Repair The ‘Damage’ Caused By The Affordable Care Act.”

“However, Verma did say that she wanted to work with Idaho and other states to repair the ‘damage’ caused by the Affordable Care Act. She suggested that Idaho could legally implement many of its proposals through short-term health insurance plans, which don’t have to adhere to all of Obamacare’s rules. The Trump administration is on course to allow insurers to offer these plans for up to a year, rather than just three months.” [CNN, 3/8/18]

Modern Health Care: “Secretary Alex Azar Told Insurers Thursday That The Trump Administration Will Do What It Can ‘Within The Law’ To Let Insurers Offer More Affordable Plans That Don’t Meet ACA Requirements.”

“The Trump administration on Thursday unexpectedly shot down Idaho’s effort to let insurers sell health plans that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s coverage mandates, thwarting conservative efforts to unravel the law’s consumer protections directly for now. But CMS Administrator Seema Verma indicated that Idaho and other states could achieve the same goal by refashioning such noncompliant health plans as short-term products, which the administration would allow under a controversial proposed rule. HHS Secretary Alex Azar told insurers Thursday that the Trump administration will do what it can ‘within the law’ to let insurers offer more affordable plans that don’t meet ACA requirements. In a letter to Idaho Republican Gov. Butch Otter and state Insurance” [Modern Health Care, 3/8/18]

Washington Times: Verma: “This Is Certainly Not Our Preference.”

“‘If a state fails to substantially enforce the law, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has a responsibility to enforce these provisions on behalf of the State,’ Ms. Verma added. ‘This is certainly not our preference.’ She said Idaho, with some tweaks, might be able to offer similar plans under Mr. Trump’s bid to offer short-term plans for up to a year. There is a GOP effort to codify this change and let people renew these plans, setting up a parallel market for healthier people that could siphon valuable enrollees from Obamacare’s exchanges.” [Washington Times, 3/8/18]

Business Insider: Verma: Idaho’s Attempt “Was Admirable.”

“Verma said that while Idaho’s desire to bring down costs — the stated reason for the policy — was admirable, it was also illegal. ‘CMS is committed to working with states to give them as much flexibility as permissible under the law to provide their citizens the best possible access to healthcare,’ Verma said.” [Business Insider, 3/8/18]

The Hill: “Verma’s Letter Offered Alternatives To The State.”

“Verma’s letter offered alternatives to the state, including embracing a Trump administration move to allow different kinds of cheaper, skimpier insurance plans, known as short-term plans.” [The Hill, 3/8/18]

Vox: “The CMS Letter Did Include A Caveat That Provides Some Consolation To Republican Officials – In Washington And Boise – Who Want To Unwind Obamacare.”

“It is a victory for the rule of law, given how openly Idaho was defying the ACA. But the CMS letter did include a caveat that provides some consolation to Republicans officials — in Washington and in Boise — who want to unwind Obamacare. The state could conceivably tweak its proposal, Verma noted, to align with the Trump administration’s own proposed regulations to expand short-term insurance plans — which also do not have to comply with the ACA’s insurance regulations. It would be a back door to achieve the same end (providing an escape hatch from Obamacare for healthier customers, one that is likely to lead to higher premiums for those left behind in the law’s markets) and would be more clearly in line with the administration’s agenda.” [Vox, 3/8/18]