Health care premiums would have dropped next year without Trump sabotage


A new study shows health care premiums would have been lower in 2019 without sabotage efforts from Trump and congressional Republicans.

If Trump and Republicans had done nothing to change health care policies, health care premiums would decrease in 2019.

But Republican animosity towards the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, led to sabotage efforts that are driving up the cost of health care and causing millions of people to lose access to health insurance all together.

A new analysis from the Brookings Institution explores what would have happened in a "stable policy environment" where Trump and congressional Republicans made no changes to health care policy in 2018.

In such an environment, the "nationwide average per member per month premium in the individual market would fall by 4.3 percent in 2019."

But Republicans were determined to undermine President Obama's signature achievement, no matter the harm it could cause. While congressional efforts at a full repeal of the ACA failed in 2017, Republicans made headway in 2018.

Tucked into the unpopular tax scam, Republicans repealed the individual mandate of the ACA. That action will drive healthier, younger people out of the insurance pool, resulting in higher premiums for the remaining insurance pool.

Further, the Trump administration recently made "junk insurance" options more widely available. While cheaper, these options are not required to provide the protections of ACA-compliant plans, such as covering pre-existing conditions and prescription medication. A recent study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that none of the junk insurance options cover maternity care.

These two actions together "are generally expected to cause many healthier people to leave the individual market and thereby raise individual market premiums," according to Brookings.

In a separate study, the Center for American Progress (CAP) looked at how much Republican sabotage efforts will cost people in 2019. In an exhaustive analysis that lays out estimated increases by congressional district, CAP estimates the average family of four in America will see health care premiums increase by $3,110 in 2019, due to Republican changes.

But Republicans are not content with the damage they have caused thus far. Republicans have threatened, on more than one occasion, to continue their assault on the ACA if they continue to control Congress after the 2018 midterms.

"With 53 members we get health care done," Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) told Politico. Republicans currently hold 51 seats in the Senate.

Voters vehemently disagree with Republicans on this issue. Multiple polls show voters trust Democrats more when it comes to health care policy.

A recent Axios/SurveyMonkey poll reveals a 21-point margin gap between people who want to keep or strengthen the ACA or (59 percent) and those who want to repeal or weaken it (38 percent).

Trump's efforts to undermine the ACA sparked a new lawsuit from four cities, claiming the Trump administration is abdicating its constitutional duty to faithfully execute the law. The lawsuit, filed by Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, alleges "a clear case of premeditated destruction of the Affordable Care Act," according to Columbus attorney Zach Klein.

Americans could have seen a drop in health care costs in 2019.

But Republicans could not leave well enough alone, and now their efforts are resulting in lawsuits and skyrocketing premiums.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.