Obamacare isn’t Dying, Truth is

Updated October 8, 2017

 

By Jeff Kirkpatrick

 

Trump is a pathological liar. He always has been. But now, he’s a pathological liar with power [1], occupying what was formerly regarded as the most powerful position in the world (before he was elected).Trump has been saying for a long time that Obamacare is dying, that it’s in a “death spiral”[2]. Today, Trump said, “Obamacare is dying, it’s essentially dead.” That’s just a variation of the same old shit he’s been spewing for over a year along with the sociopaths who cringe at the idea that healthcare is a human right.

Obamacare isn’t exploding; Obamacare isn’t dying – even the CBO report confirmed that. None of those assertions that Trump and other Republicans have been saying about Obamacare are true. But now that he’s in power, he and his minions are doing their best to make it become true. A number of journalists have reported what actions and decisions Republicans have done that contribute to the problems that the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) already had. They are intentionally causing problems and making existing flaws in the ACA worse. Listed below are highlights from some of those publications by hard-working journalists.

The point is that they are doing everything they can to kill the Affordable Care Act so the Republicans can swoop in and “save the day” with the “The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” or whatever Orwellian name they give it in the end. Better for billionaires, but extremely bad for everyone else.

From Trump on down, the current administration is infested with lies and the lying liars who tell them. It’s just one fucking lie after another, and just like any authoritarian government, the effort to discredit all media as fake was highlighted by White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee the other day. All stories about “Russian collusion are fake” she stated, without even hesitating. To be clear, discrediting all media outlets and supplanting them with their own propaganda promoting platforms is one of the first actions taken by all tyrannical governments [3].

This is not to say that the media doesn’t have its failures – it most definitely does [4]. But every time a Trump devotee lies and says Obamacare is dying, journalists MUST point out the facts surrounding this false claim (see below). While, it cannot be ignored that even before Trump was elected, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) had problems that needed to be fixed, it must be pointed out what Trump has done to exacerbate, not fix, those problems. Trump and the Republican Congress do not want to fix the Affordable Care Act. They want to kill Obamacare completely and replace it with a hideous tax cut for the rich. We’ve already seen what their idea of “healthcare” is and it has nothing to do with making sure all Americans have affordable healthcare. That is another propaganda lie from the pit of snakes in the Trump administration swamp.

Obamacare is not dead. But truth is in a death spiral.


 

UPDATED October 8, 2017:

For the latest on this issue, see: “Repeal And Replace Watch,” by Kaiser Health News

It’s important to bear in mind that Trump swore to uphold the laws of the United States of America. It’s his duty. Yet instead of enforcing the laws that define Obamacare, he is actively undermining them. This in and of itself should, would be, grounds for impeachment under any other circumstance. His actions and the actions of the sociopathic Republicans who are enabling him are threatening the lives and well-being of millions of Americans. Are they not traitors?

These recent articles illustrate how Trump is going out of his way to destroy the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – Obamacare:

 

How Trump is planning to gut Obamacare by executive order,” by Dylan Scott, Vox; October 8, 2017

Excerpt: With a repeal bill off the table, the Trump administration has drafted an executive order that could blow a huge hole in the Affordable Care Act, according to a source with direct knowledge of the plan.

The order would, in effect, exempt many association health plans, groups of small businesses that pool together to buy health insurance, from core Obamacare requirements like the coverage of certain essential health benefits. It would potentially allow individuals to join these plans too, which would put individual insurance marketplaces in serious peril by drawing younger and healthier people away from them.

The draft order is also said to broaden the definition of short-term insurance, which is also exempt from the law’s regulations. Together, these changes represent a serious threat to Obamacare: President Trump seems ready to open more loopholes for more people to buy insurance outside the health care law’s markets, which experts anticipate would destabilize the market for customers who are left behind with higher premiums and fewer insurers.

“This appears to be a backdoor way of undermining the Affordable Care Act,” Kevin Lucia, who studies the markets at Georgetown University, said of the alleged changes….

“It will destroy the small-group market,” Tim Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University who generally supports Obamacare, told me. “We’ll be back to where we were before the Affordable Care Act.”….

“Consumers are going to face a less stable, less competitive individual market,” Lucia said.

 

Critics see Trump sabotage on Obamacare,” by Peter Sullivan and Rachel Roubein, The Hill; October 7, 2017

Excerpt: The Trump administration is taking a hatchet to ObamaCare after failing to pass legislation through Congress repealing President Obama’s signature law.

The administration has cut funding for advertising and outreach by 90 percent, raising the odds that fewer people will join the health-care exchanges during the fall enrollment period.

It has slashed funds by 41 percent for outside groups that help reach and enroll likely ObamaCare consumers.

The enrollment period has also been chopped in half, and the administration announced plans to take down the Healthcare.gov website for maintenance for hours at a time on several days during the sign-up period, two other steps likely to cut into enrollment.

All of these steps could lead fewer people to sign up for the law, which in turn might lead to higher premiums that could force others off the exchanges.

 

While Republicans slash Medicaid, Trump’s golf outings have cost taxpayers an estimated $72 million,” by Jen Hayden, Daily Kos; October 6, 2017

Excerpt: Americans are not happy Donald Trump’s uber-wealthy cabinet of millionaires and billionaires and their habit of using taxpayer-funded jets to fly around the world when commercial flights are readily available for a fraction of the cost. And while Republicans in the House and Senate are slashing Medicaid funds – money that provides assistance for the poor, elderly, disabled and children – there is no limit to Donald Trump’s excessive travel expenses.

 

Republicans Are Intent on Destroying Health Care, Putting Tens of Millions of American Lives at Risk,” by Steven Rosenfeld, Alternet; October 6, 2017

Excerpt: Republicans in Congress and the White House keep trying to destroy America’s health care safety nets and are exposing tens of millions of Americans to real peril….

On Thursday, the House passed a budget resolution setting spending goals for the federal fiscal year that began October 1, by proposing the age when one becomes eligible for Medicare be raised from the current 65 to 67.

Also on Thursday, the Washington Post reported the Trump administration was posed to deny a request by Iowa, a Republican-run state, to reorganize its insurance marketplace selling policies under the Affordable Care Act. Saying no to Republican states is part of its campaign to destroy the law – even if Congress couldn’t repeal it….

But the other fact that people need to know is that Trump’s intentional chaos and the House GOP’s continuing war on healthcare safety nets are causing insurers to raise their rates for 2018, the calendar year. Needless to say, in a system dominated by private insurers, the companies are making sure their profits hold and are passing costs along to the public…..

But the bottom line is Trump’s chaos is roiling the nation’s healthcare systems, with the most harm unfolding for people who rely on government safety nets or benefits that are required under federal law – and it looks like this is going to get worse.

“This has been the most unstable and challenged health insurance market in my tenure as a public servant,” Dave Jones, California health insurance commissioner, told the Times. “The degree of uncertainty and instability that the Trump administration has injected into the market this year cannot be overstated.”

 

Trump’s Obamacare sabotage is a personal mission and he doesn’t care who gets hurt,” by Joan McCarter, Daily Kos; October 6, 2017

Excerpt: The departure of HHS Secretary and long-time Affordable Care Act foe Tom Price won’t even slow down the Trump administration’s efforts to sabotage the law. That’s because this is Trump’s mission, destroying the hallmark achievement of President Obama and it’s entirely personal….

That’s just one facet of the sabotage Trump is directing to destroy the law. From refusing to give insurance companies the assurance that the administration will keep cost-sharing reimbursements flowing – as required by law – to refusing to fund outreach to get new enrollments to using taxpayer money intended to advertise for Obamacare to run a public relations campaign to sabotage it.

 

Trump Continues To Chip Away At ACA Despite Congress’ Failure to Repeal Law,” by Kaiser Health News; October 6, 2017

Excerpt: In a rare move, President Donald Trump weighed in on a decision concerning Iowa’s attempts to stabilize its marketplace, telling CMS to deny its request. Supporters of the Affordable Care Act see the president’s opposition even to changes sought by conservative states as part of a broader campaign to undermine the law. Meanwhile, a left-leaning study finds that at least 20 states blame the administration for the uncertainty in the marketplaces.

The Washington Post: As ACA Enrollment Nears, Administration Keeps Cutting Federal Support Of The Law

For months, officials in Republican-controlled Iowa had sought federal permission to revitalize their ailing health-insurance marketplace. Then President Trump read about the request in a newspaper story and called the federal director weighing the application. Trump’s message in late August was clear, according to individuals who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations: Tell Iowa no. (Eilperin, 10/5)

The Hill: Trump Told HHS To Deny Request To Fix Iowa ObamaCare Market: Report

President Trump told the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Seema Varma to deny a request from the Republican-controlled state of Iowa to fix their health-care marketplace, according to The Washington Post. According to the Post, Iowa officials sought for months to get federal permission to fix health insurance markets in their state, but they were shut down by Trump administration officials. (Manchester, 10/5)

Politico Pro: Democrats Accuse Trump Of ‘Sabotage’ On Obamacare Sign-Ups

Obamacare’s first open enrollment season under the Trump administration is expected to be a flop — and even the law’s most ardent supporters are worried there’s little they can do to change that. With less than a month before sign-up begins, the federal government has gutted outreach and marketing, slashed funding to outside enrollment groups and left state officials in the dark on key details. (Demko and Cancryn, 10/5)

The Hill: Many States Blame Trump, GOP For ObamaCare Premium Increases

Twenty states attribute ObamaCare premium increases next year to uncertainty caused by the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress, according to a new report released Thursday. The report from pro-ObamaCare group Protect Our Care analyzed the 28 states where final, state-approved rates are public and found that 20 specifically cited uncertainty at the federal level for at least part of the reason for increases. (Hellmann, 10/5)

Des Moines Register: Iowa’s Stopgap Health Insurance Plan Not Dead Yet, Leaders Say

Iowa officials said Thursday evening they still hadn’t heard whether the Trump administration will approve or deny a “stopgap” plan to stabilize the state’s health insurance market, despite a national report that the president told his administrators to reject it. The Washington Post reported that President Trump told a top human-services administrator in August to reject Iowa’s plan. The proposal was made by Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen, who is a fellow Republican. It would redirect Affordable Care Act money in a way that Ommen says would encourage more young, healthy Iowans to buy individual insurance policies and would ease risks to insurance carriers. (Leys, 10/5)

 

Trump May Be Planning His Biggest Obamacare Sabotage Yet,” by Kevin Drum, Mother Jones; October 6, 2017

 

Yet More ‘Shameful’ Evidence Trump Is Actively Sabotaging Obamacare,” by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams; October 6, 2017

Excerpt: The Republican Party’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may have failed, but that hasn’t stopped President Donald Trump from doing everything in his power to sabotage the law – including personally intervening to ensure that individual states don’t take steps to bolster health insurance markets and lower premiums.

“For months, officials in Republican-controlled Iowa had sought federal permission to revitalize their ailing health-insurance marketplace,” the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin reported Thursday. “Then President Trump read about the request in a newspaper story and called the federal director weighing the application. Trump’s message in late August was clear, according to individuals who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations: Tell Iowa no.”

And Iowa is not alone in being shunned by the Trump administration: Oklahoma has also sought federal approval to enact changes to their insurance markets to check rising premiums, only to be rebuffed by the White House.

Critics immediately expressed alarm that Trump would block even red states from working to “revitalize” their insurance exchanges – an indication of Trump’s unwavering commitment to undermining his predecessor’s healthcare law.

Responding to the Post’s report, New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz noted that what is most concerning is not merely Trump’s rejection of Iowa’s proposals, which were extremely right-wing and undesirable. Rather, it is the fact that Trump rejected them purely in service of his ultimate “egotistical” goal of ensuring Obamacare’s collapse.

“Our president isn’t deliberately increasing the number of Americans who will go without insurance next year so as to advance an ideological project,” Levitz argues, “but solely out of a (likely misguided belief) that doing so will increase his chances of one day writing his name on a fancy-looking document – and declaring Barack Obama’s signature achievement officially dead.”

 

Undercutting Health Care in America,” by Gail Ablow, Moyers & Company; October 4, 2017

Excerpt: Since Donald Trump became president, the Republican majorities in the House and Senate have twice failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Consequently, Obamacare remains the law of the land. And, by law, the job of overseeing the health care exchanges falls to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). But now it appears HHS itself is doing its best to sabotage the process.

Anti-Obamacare Messaging

Last summer, The New York Times outlined three ways the department has used our tax dollars to launch a campaign against Obamacare: 1) HHS released dozens of video testimonials, all were critical of Obamacare. 2) Tom Price, the now-former head of HHS, tweeted at least 48 anti-Obamacare infographics to support efforts to repeal the bill; and 3) perhaps most obstructionist of all — the department began deleting useful information and enrollment guidance from its website as soon as Trump was inaugurated. “Here, it’s an agency trying to destroy its own program because it opposes it,” Kathleen Clark, a government ethics expert and professor of law at Washington University, told The Times, “It is inconsistent with the constitutional duty to take care that the law is faithfully executed.”

Thwarting Community Assistance

The Trump administration is also cutting back on its grants to contractors who train health care exchange “navigators.” The navigators are located in libraries, businesses and nonprofits to help people shop for plans. ….

Closing the Window of Opportunity

During the first four years of the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, the open enrollment ran for three months, from Nov. 1 through the end of January. This year the open enrollment ends on Dec. 15 — that’s less than half the time. If you thought that HHS would go out of its way to let people know there’s less time to sign up, remember the budget for advertising was cut by 90 percent. HHS is also cutting back on website hours. A shutdown will take place for 12 hours on all but one Sunday from midnight to noon ET.

 

The Same Agency That Runs Obamacare Is Using Taxpayer Money to Undermine It,” by Audrey Carlsen and Haeyoun Park, New York Times; September 4, 2017

Excerpt: The Trump administration said on Thursday that it would slash spending on advertising and promotion for the Affordable Care Act, but it has already been waging a multipronged campaign against it.

Despite several failed efforts by Republican lawmakers to repeal it, the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land. But the Department of Health and Human Services – an agency with a legal responsibility to administer the law – has used taxpayer dollars to oppose it.

Legal experts say that while it is common for a new administration to reinterpret an existing law, it is unusual to take steps to undermine it. Here are three ways the health department has campaigned against Obamacare….

Even before President Trump took office, health insurance markets had serious problems in some states. But Sarah Lueck, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank, said the law would not be dying on its own.

“It’s these kinds of actions – pulling back on outreach and enrollment, disseminating negative propaganda about an existing law – those are the things that make the market implode,” she said.

 

Obamacare Website to Be Shut Down for Portion of Most Weekends During Open Enrollment,” by Phil Galewitz, Truthout; September 24, 2017

Excerpt: The Trump administration plans to shut down the federal health insurance exchange for 12 hours during all but one Sunday in the upcoming open enrollment season.

The shutdown will occur from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET on every Sunday except Dec. 10.

The Department of Health and Human Services will also shut down the federal exchange –healthcare.gov  – overnight on the first day of open enrollment, Nov. 1. More than three dozen states use that exchange for their marketplaces….

The Trump administration has come under attack from critics who say that it is intentionally undermining the Affordable Care Act, through regulatory actions. It shortened the enrollment period, withdrew money for advertising and cut the budget for navigator groups, which help people shop for plans.

And now HHS is closing the site for a substantial portion of each weekend – for maintenance, officials said. That is the same time that many working patients — the prime target group for ACA insurance – could be shopping for their insurance, critics noted.

“The Department of Health & Human Services is actively trying to prevent people from signing up for healthcare coverage,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted. “This is outrageous.”…

The Trump administration plan will have the site operating 93 percent of the time – over an enrollment period that is half as long as it used to be. In effect, instead of a 90-day enrollment season, the Trump administration has cut it to 45. The maintenance shutdowns cut it to an equivalent of 42 days.

 

 


 

Wyden on GOP Sabotage of ACA Open Enrollment” (19:21) by Ron Wyden on Oct. 4, 2017


 

‘This Is Sabotage’: Trump Cuts Obamacare Outreach Budget By 90%,” by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams; September 1, 2017

 

Trump Administration Whacks Millions From Budget Used To Push Obamacare,” by Rachel Bluth and Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News; August 31, 2017

 

Team Trump Used Obamacare Money to Run PR Effort against It,” by Sam Stein, Daily Beast; July 20, 2017

Excerpt: The Trump administration has spent taxpayer money meant to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Care Act on a public relations campaign aimed at methodically strangling it.

The effort, which involves a multi-pronged social media push as well as video testimonials designed at damaging public opinion of President Obama’s health care law, is far more robust and sustained than has been publicly revealed or realized.

The strategy has caught the eye of legal experts and Democrats in Congress, who have asked government agencies to investigate whether the administration has misused funds and engaged in covert propaganda in its efforts to damage and overturn the seven-year-old health care law. It’s also roiled Obama administration veterans, who argue that the current White House is not only abdicating its responsibilities to administer the law but sabotaging it in an effort to facilitate its undoing by Congress….

How much damage these alterations have had on Obamacare is ultimately unknowable. But those whose job it once was to encourage enrollment insist that the burying of information, the pausing of advertising, and creation of policy confusion has collectively had a profound effect.

“I think uncertainty causes people to freeze,” said Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator at CMS. “So I think it is quite impactful. And look, you’re not hired into the administration to decide whether you agree with the law you’re asked to execute. That’s not your job… Congress appropriates funds for you to carry out laws that they passed, not to spend those funds on activities that counteract those laws.”

 

Is Trump Sabotaging Obamacare?” by Michael Grunwald, POLITICO Magazine; March 14, 2017

Excerpt: President Donald Trump often blasts Obamacare as a total disaster, a pathetic failure doomed to implode. But sometimes he adds a twist, suggesting that instead of trying to fix the situation, Republicans would be smarter to exploit the situation. “Let it be a disaster, because we can blame that on the Democrats,” Trump mused to the National Governors Association on February 27. “Let it implode, then let it implode in 2018 even worse … Politically, it would be a great solution.”

Trump has made similar remarks on Twitter, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, in an Oval Office meeting last week with conservative activists, and at a Roosevelt Room event on Monday with Americans who don’t like Obamacare. He keeps emphasizing that Republicans are “putting themselves in a very bad position” by pushing a controversial repeal bill, when they could easily let Obamacare collapse and let Democrats take the blame. He’s been saying this kind of thing so often that it’s worth asking whether he’s taking his own advice, trying to sabotage Obamacare for political reasons.

 

What Does Trump’s Executive Order against Obamacare Actually Do?” by Margot Sanger-Katz, New York Times, January 21, 2017

Excerpt: The easiest way for the Trump administration to undermine the health law would be to stop defending a lawsuit brought by the House of Representatives. That suit said that the Obama administration lacked the authority to pay certain Obamacare subsidies. A lower court ruled for the House, meaning that by simply withdrawing from the appeal, the Trump administration could start a process to eliminate those subsidies and cause a collapse of the insurance market. Mr. Trump’s order said nothing about that policy choice.

 

Trump couldn’t kill Obamacare but will he sabotage it?” by Dave Ross, My Northwest; March 27, 2017

Excerpt: On inauguration day, he signed an order directing agencies to “minimize” the “burdens” of Obamacare. And the IRS took him at his word. Originally, the IRS was going to play hardball – and flat-out reject the tax returns of uninsured people who didn’t either pay the tax penalty or claim a hardship exemption. But thanks to the president’s order, the IRS now says returns will still be accepted, even with that part left blank. That means a lot of healthy people won’t buy insurance – which begins the death spiral.

 

No, Obamacare Isn’t Exploding. But Trump Could Still Blow It Up,” by Patrick Caldwell, Mother Jones; March 28, 2017

Excerpt: The idea that Obamacare is in a death spiral was central to Republican efforts to destroy the law. They point to rising premiums for individuals on Healthcare.gov and insurers fleeing some markets. Thirty-two percent of counties now have only one insurance provider, up from 7 percent of counties in 2016.

But the truth is more complicated than the GOP wants you to believe. Yes, in some states there are problems with the individual insurance marketplaces created by the law. But those problems don’t exist everywhere in the country, and experts expect even the problematic markets to stabilize. That isn’t to say Obamacare is completely out of the woods, and perhaps the biggest danger facing the law comes from Trump himself. There are plenty of ways the administration could use its regulatory power to blow up the program – more on that below…

According to the Congressional Budget Office, when it scored the GOP’s repeal plan, Obamacare’s individual markets should remain stable going forward: “The subsidies to purchase coverage combined with the penalties paid by uninsured people stemming from the individual mandate are anticipated to cause sufficient demand for insurance by people with low health care expenditures for the market to be stable.”*

[*] Note: that CBO report refers to the healthcare plan introduced in the House of Representatives which did not come up for a vote due to lack of support; it can be found HERE.

Moreover, the problems are not equally distributed across the country. One major reason appears to relate to Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid. The ACA pushed states to enroll everyone below 138 percent of the federal poverty line into Medicaid, which is separate from the individual insurance marketplaces. The federal government pays for the vast majority of Medicaid expansion costs. But after the Supreme Court said states didn’t have to adopt the expansion, a number of Republican-controlled states rejected the program. So far, only 31 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid through Obamacare…

So Obamacare probably isn’t destined to explode, but that doesn’t mean Trump’s prediction won’t come true. It’ll just be his fault if that happens, not Barack Obama’s or Nancy Pelosi’s. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has wide discretion over a number of ACA provisions that that could allow him to sabotage the law. At Politico last week, Dan Diamond wondered, “Is Trumpcare already here?” He pointed out that the Trump administration has already begun to implement its agenda through executive action.

The president’s team started early in its Obamacare assault, canceling ads in late January encouraging people to sign up for insurance on the marketplaces during open enrollment, despite the fact that the ads had already been purchased. It was a clear attempt to decrease participation in the program. The people most likely to sign up without inducement are people in worse health who need insurance to pay for their care, so these sort of ads boosting enrollment are essential for attracting the younger, healthier groups necessary to spread out the cost and keep premiums low.

 

6 Changes the Trump Administration Can Still Make to Obamacare,” by Danielle Kurtzleben, WNYC; March 29, 2017

 Excerpt: After seven years of trying, Republicans failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last week.*

[*] This refers to the House version of Trumpcare that never came to a vote

That doesn’t mean the health care drama is over, though. House Speaker Paul Ryan this week told donors that the party is “going to keep getting at this thing,” according to The Washington Post.

But whatever Ryan and his colleagues manage to do, plenty could still change in the Affordable Care Act. Last week’s failed bill, after all, was only one part of the GOP’s plan.

The second part – making changes to regulations and how Obamacare is administered – doesn’t even require Congress’ help. And those changes could make or break the health law.

“There are things the Trump administration might do that could prop up the markets, and there are things they might do that could help the markets explode, if that’s what they want to happen,” says Cynthia Cox, who studies Obamacare’s effects on private insurance at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

 

Is Trump Sabotaging Obamacare?” by Michael Grunwald, POLITICO Magazine; March 14, 2017

Excerpt: President Donald Trump often blasts Obamacare as a total disaster, a pathetic failure doomed to implode. But sometimes he adds a twist, suggesting that instead of trying to fix the situation, Republicans would be smarter to exploit the situation. “Let it be a disaster, because we can blame that on the Democrats,” Trump mused to the National Governors Association on February 27. “Let it implode, then let it implode in 2018 even worse … Politically, it would be a great solution.”

Trump has made similar remarks on Twitter, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, in an Oval Office meeting last week with conservative activists, and at a Roosevelt Room event on Monday with Americans who don’t like Obamacare. He keeps emphasizing that Republicans are “putting themselves in a very bad position” by pushing a controversial repeal bill, when they could easily let Obamacare collapse and let Democrats take the blame. He’s been saying this kind of thing so often that it’s worth asking whether he’s taking his own advice, trying to sabotage Obamacare for political reasons.

 

Four Things Trump Could Do Right Now to Fix Obamacare,” by Michael Grunwald, POLITICO Magazine; March 28, 2017

 

Trump Makes His First Big Changes to Obamacare,” by Jeffrey Young, Huffington Post; April 13, 2017

Excerpt: President Donald Trump’s administration has taken its first action to change the way the health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act operate, aiming to shore them up for next year’s sign-up period.

The regulation published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday is a response to insurers’ demands that federal authorities take steps to limit consumers’ ability to drop in and out of the insurance market. Such “gaming” of the system drives up costs for the carriers that must cover the consumers’ claims.

The overall consequence of the new rules is that health insurance will be harder to buy in 2018, especially for people whose circumstances change during the year, enabling them to buy policies outside the annual sign-up period. The length of that sign-up period is also cut in half.

Other aspects of the regulation could make coverage less comprehensive, reduce the value of the tax credit subsidies that make premiums more affordable for low- and middle-income people, and allow insurers to offer plans with fewer medical providers in their networks.

 

Trump administration issues final rule on stricter Obamacare enrollment,” by Yasmeen Abutaleb, Reuters; April 13, 2017

Excerpt: The Trump administration on Thursday issued a final rule that will shorten the Obamacare enrollment period and give insurers more of what they say they need in the individual insurance market, likely making it harder for some consumers to purchase insurance, healthcare experts said.

It could also raise out-of-pocket medical expenses, the experts said, because it gives insurers more flexibility in determining the value of their coverage.

The rule, which takes effect later this year, comes as President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have renewed efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, after an effort to pass a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives failed last month.

 

Trump Threatens Healthcare for Poor in Effort to Cut Healthcare for Poor,” by Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams; April 14, 2017

Excerpt: President Donald Trump appears to be pursuing Republican strategy of sabotaging Affordable Care.

Displaying deal-making skills that employ vulnerable citizens as bargaining chips, President Donald Trump threatened on Wednesday to cut off subsidies that help poor people afford health coverage in order to get Democrats to the negotiating table on repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

 

Trump Threatens Health Subsidies to Force Democrats to Bargain,” by Robert Pear, New York Times; April 13, 2017

Excerpt: In an interview with The Wall Street Journal this week, Mr. Trump threatened to withhold the subsidy payments as a way to induce the Democrats to bargain with him…

If the subsidies are interrupted, insurers say, some health plans will increase premiums and others will withdraw from the individual insurance market. That will, in turn, affect millions of other people who do not receive the subsidies.

 

Thom Hartmann: How Republicans Quietly Sabotaged Obamacare Long before Trump Came into Office,” by Thom Hartmann, Alternet; March 14, 2017

Excerpt: When the ACA was rolled out, telling insurance companies that they had to insure anybody who signed up regardless of previous conditions or sickness, everybody realized that the insurance companies would probably lose money in the first decade or so, until previously uninsured but sick people got into the system, got better and things evened out.

To get the insurance companies to go along with this risk of losing money, the ACA promised to make them whole for any losses in the first decade. At the end of each fiscal year, the insurance companies merely had to document their losses and the government would reimburse them out of ACA funds provided for by the law.

The possibility of their losing money was referred to as the “risk corridor,” and the ACA explicitly filled those risk corridors with a guarantee of making the insurance companies, at the very least, whole.

Then something happened. As the New York Times noted on Dec. 9, 2015, “A little-noticed health care provision slipped into a giant spending law last year has tangled up the Obama administration, sent tremors through health insurance markets and rattled confidence in the durability of President Obama’s signature health law.”

Rubio and a number of other Republicans had succeeded in gutting the risk corridors. The result was that just in 2015, end-of-fiscal-year risk corridor payments to insurance companies that were supposed to total around $2.9 billion were only reimbursed, according to Rubio himself quoted in the Times, to the tune of around $400 million. Rubio bragged that he’d “saved taxpayers $2.5 billion.”

And indeed he had. But the insurance companies were thrown into a crisis. And with Republicans in Congress absolutely refusing to refund the risk corridors, that crisis would get worse as time went on, at least over a period of a few years. So the insurance companies did the only thing they could. In (mostly red) states with low incomes and thus poorer health, they simply pulled out of the marketplace altogether. This has left some states with only a single insurer left. In other states, they jacked up their prices to make up their losses.

As Robert Pear in the Times noted, Rubio’s “plan limiting how much the government can spend to protect insurance companies against financial losses has shown the effectiveness of quiet legislative sabotage.”


Trump says he is aiming for a ‘great, great form of health care’” (2:11) published by Washington Post on June 28, 2017


 

[1]. “Lest We Forget: The Big Lie Behind the Rise of Trump” (23:30)

Lest We Forget: The Big Lie Behind the Rise of Trump” (23:30)

Bill Moyers: All of Donald Trump’s Lies,” by Bill Moyers, Alternet; June 28, 2017

The First 100 Lies: The Trump Team’s Flurry of Falsehoods,” by Igor Bobic, Huffington Post; February 26, 2017

President Trump’s Lies, the Definitive List,” by David Leonhardt and Stuart A. Thompson, New York Times, June 23, 2017

What My Father the Pathological Liar Taught Me about Trump,” by Matthew Callan, VICE; July 6, 2017

 

Lawrence On President Donald Trump’s Lies, Big And Small | The Last Word | MSNBC” (9:53) published by MSNBC on March 14, 2017


 

[2]. The “death spiral” concept seems to have started with a conspiracy theorist who believed that the flaws in Obamacare were deliberately written into the Affordable Care Act so that one day, years from that point, after dozens of attempts to repeal it, the ACA would be so undesirable that Democrats would claim that the only solution was “socialized medicine.”  I wrote about it at length here, “Death Spirals & Trump’s Healthcare Conspiracy”.

 

[3]. I recommend “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century,” by Timothy Snyder. It’s a very small book, a very easy and quick read.


 

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century 033017” (1:06:13)


 

[4]. For many, the biggest media failure has been the stupid use of phrases like “untruths” and “not factually correct’ and refusing to use the word “lies”. For fuck’s sake, it just makes things worse. Call a lie a lie because it is a lie. That’s not to suggest that every media outlet is avoiding the word “lie” – in fact, the New York Times recently published “President Trump’s Lies, the Definitive List,” by David Leonhardt and Stuart A. Thompson, on June 23, 2017. But when some media outlets referred to this article, they called it “a list of statements by Trump that were not true” or some variation of that.

The other major failure is the media’s inability to fully address Trump mental instability (if at all), with few exceptions. One journalist wrote about this here: “Avoiding questions about Trump’s mental health is a betrayal of public trust,” by Lee Siegel, Columbia Journalism Review; February 22, 2017


Economic Terrorism 2.0

Trumpcare 4.1: The Lies of Sociopaths

Trumpcare 3.0: From Bad to Worse

Coming soon – ‘Trumpcare 3.0: Return of the Sociopaths’

Trumpcare 2.0: People will die

Senate Trumpcare v2.0

Trumpcare: The Sociopath’s Guide to Healthcare

Trump’s Budget and Healthcare Plan are Economic Terrorism


You can sure that Republicans will do anything and everything to get Trumpcare passed. Expect the most unethical, dishonest, sociopathic actions to unfold in the near future. Expect the worst, but hope for the best. Don’t give up the fight now. Call:

202-224-3121

 

Tell your Senators to vote No on Trumpcare. When you call, please refer to it as “The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” (or BCRA). Although it may be currently referred to as H.R. 1628, this may change as the bill reaches the Senate floor for a vote.

Call your senator: Phone numbers for every office of every U.S. senator,” by David Nir, Daily Kos; February 2, 2017

See this article for a list of Senators and contact information who need to really hear from their constituents: “New CBO Score: Trumpcare Kills for Profit,” by Stephanie Connolly & Alex Lawson, HuffPost; June 27, 2017


 

Web Extra: Words Still Have No Meaning | Full Frontal on TBS” (2:21)


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2 thoughts on “Obamacare isn’t Dying, Truth is

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