Trump just made health care premiums go through the roof. Fewer people have insurance.
Trump's sabotage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) caused more harm than previously thought, according to new data reported Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times. As a result of Trump’s actions, more Americans are uninsured — and health care premiums are higher — than they otherwise would have been.
Here’s how it happened, according to research from experts at Duke University and the University of North Carolina.
Trump barreled into office determined to undermine the ACA in every possible way, and he started almost immediately after he was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017.
In his first few days in office, Trump canceled television and radio ads encouraging people to sign up for health insurance through the ACA, even though the Jan. 31 enrollment deadline was coming up soon. Trump also promised to repeal the ACA, and signed an executive order directing his administration not to enforce the ACA's individual mandate requiring coverage.
Trump's sabotage apparently worked, as enrollment in the final two weeks dropped by 30% compared to the previous year, when President Obama encouraged people to purchase health insurance.
According to the researchers, those who sign up near the end of the enrollment period tend to be healthier, and therefore cheaper for insurance companies to cover. Without them in the insurance pool, a higher percentage of people with insurance are sicker and more expensive.
As a result, "losing them from the overall insurance pool means higher premiums for everyone else," the Times reports.
In fact, the 30% drop in enrollment in the final two weeks was "enough to account for at least a percentage point or two in increased premiums."
Trump’s sabotage had the dual effect of increasing the cost of insurance and decreasing the number of people who have it.
Trump’s behavior in the earliest days of his administration would continue through his first years in office. Trump worked with Republicans to repeal the ACA — which would have meant millions of people losing health insurance, as well as millions of people with preexisting conditions losing the guarantee that health insurance companies could not discriminate against them.
After the Senate rejected the GOP repeal bill, Trump turned to the courts to try to eliminate the ACA and kick 20 million people off of their health insurance.
Since day one, Trump has worked to undermine the ACA. Even though he has only been partially successful, he has still made the health care system worse for everyone.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Dan Desai Martin.