Congress won’t repeal Obamacare, so guess what Trump is doing?
That’s right: the resentful, puerile child-president is going to wreck it himself!
President Trump, after failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress, will act on his own to relax health care standards on small businesses that band together to buy health insurance and may take steps to allow the sale of other health plans that skirt the health law’s requirements.
The president plans to sign an executive order “to promote health care choice and competition” on Thursday at a White House event attended by small-business owners and others.
… Democrats and some state regulators are now greeting the move with increasing alarm, calling it another attempt to undermine President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. They warn that by relaxing standards for so-called association health plans, Mr. Trump would create low-cost insurance options for the healthy, driving up costs for the sick and destabilizing insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act.
It’s called sabotage, and Democrats are bound to respond first with a robust legal pushback.
Democrats defend the law, saying it has extended health insurance to some 20 million Americans.
Several experts in healthcare and employment law said Trump’s plan could violate the U.S. Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a federal law that governs large group plans that must be provided or maintained by employers or employee organizations.
Expanding association plans to market insurance to individuals who are not employees would “not be remotely legal,” said Nicholas Bagley, a professor of healthcare law at the University of Michigan.
As Paul Waldman points out, Trump’s Obamacare obsession is also unhealthy for Republicans:
Republicans will say, “Don’t blame us, ObamaCare is failing.” President Trump has been clear all along that this is his plan. “I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let ObamaCare fail,” he said in July. “We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it.” But that’s not how it works. Even if voters aren’t familiar with the ways the administration is sabotaging the ACA, voters blame the party in power when things go wrong.
Which gives Democrats an opening, one they have to seize by proposing fixes specifically geared to the problems the Trump administration is either creating or exacerbating. Fortunately for them, if they want to move toward a system of true universal coverage — which is the direction their party is going — there are easy-to-understand fixes they can propose. … Democrats don’t have the ability to enact any reforms yet, but they should start building support now. That way, if they’re to take back Congress and the White House by 2020, they’ll have specific ideas in place that they would have already sold to a public ready to see the problems in the health-care system addressed.
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