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Trump Moves Forward on Executive Actions to Sabotage the ACA

President Trump has spent his week further undermining the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The President signed an Executive Order Thursday morning, directing agencies in his Administration to dismantle key portions of the ACA. Two main directives of the order threaten the stability of the law: broadening association health plans and expanding short-term medical insurance, both opening loopholes in the ACA to allow cheaper but skimpier health insurance plans. The cheaper plans with fewer covered health services would be purchased primarily by healthy people, leaving sicker Americans, again, with rising premiums and essentially creating a “high-risk pool” in the public market. Read more from Vox about the potential impacts of the EO. 


Thursday evening, the Trump Administration announced that it will no longer pay cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) to insurance companies to offset the cost of medical care for low-income Americans. The announcement is the resounding “no” to the question of if the Trump Administration would continue this ACA provision, and it appears that the Department of Health and Human Services will cut off these payments immediately.  Ending the payments will likely cause insurers to drive up premiums or leave the marketplaces entirely.

The sweeping executive actions come after three major failures by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the ACA, angering conservative constituents and donors alike. Last Friday, the Trump Administration issued new rules regarding mandatory coverage of contraception in employer health care plans, backtracking from ACA requirements that such care is an essential health benefit that must be covered. Under the new rules, employers will be able to not include contraceptives in their health care plans if they have “religious” or “moral” beliefs that are at odds with them doing so. Such broad criteria, say reproductive justice groups, could mean that many more American women could find themselves without birth control.

As the New York Times notes, more impacts of the Administration’s ACA enrollment cuts are emerging. Organizations that received federal funding to help individuals sign up for and use ACA health care plans are having their budgets slashed by the Trump Administration, the worst cuts of which are up to 80-90 percent. On top of the drastically reduced enrollment time, it is likely that many Americans will be able to access the health care plans they need through the ACA this year.

Many organizations have announced plans to oppose these changes in court if/when they are presented (as noted by former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt). Still, Trump has made perfectly clear that he plans to do away with the ACA, with or without Congress. AIDS United strongly opposes these executive actions against American health care and will work with our coalition partners to support congressional efforts to fight them. AIDS United also calls for all of us, as citizens and voters, to hold elected officials and legislators, including the president, accountable for their actions on health care.  





Posted By: AIDS United, Policy Department - Thursday, October 12, 2017

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