“Having failed to persuade Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Trump and his administration are waging a relentless campaign to sabotage and, ultimately, to nullify the law,” the lawsuit states. “Of course, as a matter of constitutional law, the Affordable Care Act has not been repealed. … But the administration’s death-by-a-thousand-cuts campaign to undermine the act via executive action alone has taken a toll.”
Increasing Competition, Choice
Justin Haskins, a research fellow and executive editor at The Heartland Institute, which publishes Health Care News, says the Trump administration’s actions regarding Obamacare have been a welcome change of direction. Using rule changes and executive orders, the president is increasing competition and choice, and the turn toward the free market will make health care more affordable, Haskins says.
“Thankfully, the Trump administration has increased access to more affordable health insurance options outside of the broken Obamacare exchanges,” Haskins said. “These policy reforms include the expansion of association health care plans for small businesses and allowing people to purchase short-term, limited-duration plans, which are considerably less expensive, for 12-month periods. Under Trump’s leadership, the federal government has adopted an increasingly more free-market position, which will ultimately mean lower costs and better quality health care for all Americans.”
Fighting Against Consumer Choice
The suit, filed on August 2, claims the municipalities are facing rising costs associated with operating their Obamacare exchanges because of decisions made by the Trump administration to expand health insurance options out- side of the Obamacare exchanges. Earlier in 2018, the Trump administration expanded access to association health plans and increased the maximum policy period consumers can purchase short-term, limited-duration insurance
to 12 months. The Trump administration also created a rule allowing consumers to renew short-term health insurance plans for up to 36 months.
Other allegations by the municipalities include that the Trump administration unjustly threatened to eliminate cost-sharing reduction payments; cut funding for those who help individuals enroll in Obamacare; and is using federal funds to criticize the law.
Trump has publicly declared on social media his reforms have effectively ended Obamacare.
Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, said in a press release ACA supporters want to keep Americans paying higher prices for insurance coverage they have no use for.
“Supporters of ACA, which should be called the Unaffordable Care Act, want to build a wall to keep Americans from escaping from outrageously expensive plans they neither need nor want,” Orient said in the statement. “ACA’s mandates to cover a long list of costly ‘essential’ benefits, and its guaranteed issue/community rating provisions (euphemistically called ‘consumer protections’), are guaranteed to drive premiums sky-high.”
Michael McGrady (mmcgrady@ mcgradypolicyresearch.org) writes from Colorado Springs, Colorado.