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Roundup: Administration Efforts to Sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA)


Ahead of today’s House subcommittee hearing on bills to “reverse ACA sabotage and ensure pre-existing conditions protections,” here are our recent pieces on some of the major issues involved.

Expanding Skimpy Short-Term Health Plans

  • CBO: Administration’s Short-Term Plans Rule Means a Return to Pre-ACA Practices
    “The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will consider legislation tomorrow to curb so-called ‘short-term’ health plans, which are exempt from the ACA’s consumer protections. Some argue, wrongly, that these plans are less harmful than they appear, and they have cited a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report to make their case. That report, however, confirms that the Trump Administration’s expansion of short-term plans will leave people who buy these plans with large gaps in coverage and will raise costs for people with pre-existing health conditions. . . .”
  • Key Flaws of Short-Term Plans Pose Risks for Consumers
    “Federal rule changes to short-term health plans are set to take effect on October 2, newly allowing insurers to offer them to consumers for up to one year (instead of three months) and renew or extend them even longer. . . . [I]n most states, short-term plans are exempt from pre-existing-condition protections and benefit standards that individual-market plans must meet. This new parallel market for skimpy plans will expose consumers buying these plans to new risks and raise premiums for those seeking comprehensive coverage, especially middle-income consumers with pre-existing conditions. . . .”
  • More States Protecting Residents Against Skimpy Short-Term Health Plans
    “Since the Trump Administration issued new rules last year expanding short-term health plans, which are exempt from the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions and benefit standards, nearly a dozen states have set their own limits and consumer protections for short-term plans. Others should follow suit. . . .”

Letting States Waive Key ACA Provisions Without Protecting Consumers

Cutting Marketplace Outreach and Consumer Assistance

  • In Latest ACA Sabotage, Administration Nearly Eliminates Marketplace Enrollment Assistance Funds
    “The Trump Administration this week slashed funding for consumer enrollment assistance and outreach through the ACA navigator program. The funding cuts, and other changes to the program, will reduce access to crucial assistance that helps consumers make informed decisions about their insurance and sign up for and maintain comprehensive coverage — yet another in the Administration’s efforts to weaken the ACA. . . .”
  • Navigator Funding Cuts Will Leave Many Marketplace Consumers on Their Own
    “The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced yesterday which groups will receive navigator funds in the 34 states where the federal government runs the ACA marketplace. But the Trump Administration’s sharp cuts in overall navigator funding in the last two years mean that many consumers who buy insurance through will be on their own to complete the complex application and enrollment process to get affordable health coverage. . . .”

For more information, see our Sabotage Watch timeline of Administration actions that would sabotage the ACA and recent testimony from CBPP Vice President for Health Policy Aviva Aron-Dine on the impact of Administration policies affecting the ACA. The table below, from her testimony, shows how with a legislative repeal of the ACA off the table for now, the Administration has continued to pursue some of the major policy objectives of the repeal bills that Congress rejected in 2017 through rulemaking and other administrative actions.