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Trump Sabotages the Affordable Care Act With Latest Executive Order

Oct. 12, 2017

Trump Sabotages the Affordable Care Act With Latest Executive Order

Statement of Eagan Kemp, Health Care Policy Advocate, Public Citizen

President Donald Trump continues to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this time through executive fiat. As with other recent GOP efforts, this executive order would hurt patients by driving up costs and threatening access to health care for millions.

The executive order would allow junk plans to be sold to consumers without adequate protections, including coverage of essential health benefits such as prescription drugs and maternity care. As a result, these plans could be sold more cheaply, and plans would target younger and healthier people.

These plans would lack ACA protections that guarantee transparency about maximum out-of-pocket costs. Enrollees who get sick also will find themselves responsible for significant expenses. Under these Trumpcare plans, it is likely that many people will have to go into debt to cover the cost of their care, and some will be forced into bankruptcy.

There is no doubt that Trump’s executive order also will destabilize ACA marketplaces, as insurers that provide junk plans cherry-pick the young and healthy, leaving only the sick to be covered under plans that continue to have ACA protections. Worse still, Trumpcare plans could be sold across state lines, undercutting the consumer protections that states have taken decades to craft.

By allowing the sale of poorly regulated plans, Trump is doubling down on his attacks on the Affordable Care Act and threatening to further drive up health care costs. This executive order would take us back to a time when unethical insurers issued poorly regulated plans that offered false promises to consumers and abandoned them when they got sick.