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Thursday, 18 May 2017 23:21

Trumpcare Is Already Hurting Trump Country


The mere threat that Obamacare will be dismantled or radically changed — either by Congress or by President Trump himself — has persuaded several big insurance companies to stop selling policies or significantly raise premiums.

The practical effect is that some lower-income and middle-class families may have no good options for insurance and will have to spend more on health care.

There’s no new Affordable Care Act yet; the House passed a very bad bill, but the Senate has yet to act. Still, in places like Iowa, Nebraska and Tennessee, companies such as Aetna and Wellmark are so spooked by the uncertainty that they are considering abandoning the market. Other insurers are asking state regulators for permission to raise premiums by as much as 53 percent. This should trouble not just the 12.2 million people who have bought insurance on federal and state exchanges, but also policy makers, since Washington may have to spend more on subsidies if premiums go up.

Mr. Trump, not surprisingly, describes things differently. He claims that uncertainty in the insurance industry is evidence that Obamacare is collapsing and needs repeal, not that he and his allies have created the uncertainty. This is disingenuous nonsense. On the whole, insurance markets in much of the country are on stable footing and will remain so if Congress doesn’t do things to undermine Obamacare, according to a March report by the Congressional Budget Office.

Read more at NYTimes

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