The GOP turncoats in Congress won’t repeal ObamaCare. But Donald Trump — who is admittedly a moron, an anti-speech thug, and otherwise a generally wretched and narcissistic waste of oxygen — is accomplishing some really good stuff on the health care front. Yesterday morning came the expected executive order “expanding access to association health plans” which had the effect of making it easier for many to buy health insurance across state lines. More on how that could help here. And later this morning (Friday morning) Trump is expected to finally eliminate illegal cost-sharing subsidies to insurance companies.
The New York Times portrays these moves in their typical apocalyptic fashion:
President Trump will scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-income people, the White House said late Thursday. His plans were disclosed hours after the president ordered potentially sweeping changes in the nation’s insurance system, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers.
The twin hits to the Affordable Care Act — on successive days — could unravel President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, sending insurance premiums soaring and insurance companies fleeing from the health law’s online marketplaces. After Republicans failed to repeal the health law in Congress, Mr. Trump appears determined to dismantle it on his own.
Uh-oh! Looks like we have some leftist bias on display!
First, the money does not go to low-income people, but to insurance companies who are legally bound to provide the coverage. Second, you can call them “low-income” people if you like, but none of them are below the poverty line, or they would not qualify under the law.
But most critically, let’s recall that the cost-sharing payments to insurance companies were actually declared to be illegal — which we learn if we make it to paragraph 11 of the Times story:
The future of the payments has been in doubt because of a lawsuit filed in 2014 by House Republicans, who said the Obama administration was paying the subsidies illegally. Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of the United States District Court in Washington agreed, finding that Congress had never appropriated money for the cost-sharing subsidies.
Trump is now saying he is going to drop the Obama administration’s appeal of that decision. Which, good for him. Yes, he should have done all of this nine months ago. But better late than never. And if the folks at the New York Times were going to portray this honestly, they would tell people up front that these payments were never part of ObamaCare and a federal judge has so ruled.
It would be nice to see Congress follow up on yesterday’s executive order by passing a law ensuring that states must allow their citizens to purchase health insurance that meets another state’s regulatory regime. Contrary to the handwringing of the New York Times, elimination of unnecessary coverage and increased competition will drive down premiums, not drive them up. (Of course, the real problem here is mandated coverage for pre-existing conditions, which simply cannot be done by government fiat, as popular as it is. But that’s beyond the scope of this already long post.)
It would also be nice to see Trump follow up on today’s action by also blocking the equally illegal ObamaCare exemption for Congress.
But hey. One thing at a time. So far so good.
Trump has done a good job this week on health care. I don’t like him as a person and I never will, but I have always said that I will give him credit when credit is due. And today, credit is due.