Saturday, July 29, 2017

The next health care move: Trump administration and GOP act to make ACA worse, not make it work

The login behind some of Trump’s cabinet picks can be succinctly described by a simple formula: X/antiX. That is, for a given government function or agency X, pick as its leader someone who is antiX.

Consider the appointments for Education, Energy, Housing, HHS, Interior, and, for example, EPA: X-AntiX case study: EPA regs on the chopping block.

This is a perfect example of how Trump’s X-antiX formula plays out. For a given agency X, pick as its leader someone who is fiercely antiX. Then sit back and watch the carnage. …

That formula now extends to health care, specifically the Affordable Care Act that most Americans want left in place but that Trump, the Senate Republicans, and HHS leadership want to fail. But it’s not just some philosophical or political or economic motivation. The administration is taking active measures to make sure that ACA fails.

AZBlueMeanie (Blog for Arizona) reviews the evidence that Trump and the GOP are sabotaging health care.
The review is comprehensive: John McCain casts the decisive vote to kill GOP ‘Obamacare’ repeal; now comes more GOP sabotage.

The BlueMeanie cites Paul Krugman’s Health Care in a Time of Sabotage:

… now the federal government itself is run by people who couldn’t repeal Obamacare, but would clearly still like to see it fail — if only to justify the repeated, dishonest claims, especially by the tweeter in chief himself, that it was already failing. Or to put it a bit differently, when Trump threatens to “let Obamacare fail,” what he’s really threatening is to make it fail.

[Last] Wednesday The Times reported on three ways the Trump administration is, in effect, sabotaging the A.C.A. (my term, not The Times’s). First, the administration is weakening enforcement of the requirement that healthy people buy coverage. Second, it’s letting states impose onerous rules like work requirements on people seeking Medicaid. Third, it has backed off on advertising and outreach designed to let people know about options for coverage.

Actually, it has done more than back off. As reported by The Daily Beast, the Department of Health and Human Services has diverted funds appropriated by law for “consumer information and outreach” and used them instead to finance a social media propaganda campaign against the law that H.H.S. is supposed to be administering — a move, by the way, of dubious legality. Meanwhile, the department’s website, which used to offer helpful links for people seeking insurance, now sends viewers to denunciations of the A.C.A.

And there may be worse to come: Insurance companies, which are required by law to limit out-of-pocket expenses of low-income customers, are already raising premiums sharply because they’re worried about a possible cutoff of the crucial federal “cost-sharing reduction” subsidies that help them meet that requirement.

… this isn’t about policy, or even politics in the normal sense. It’s basically about spite: Trump and his allies may have suffered a humiliating political defeat, but at least they can make millions of other people suffer.

And that misery includes the many Trump supporters who have gotten their health care coverage through the ACA.

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