(by guest blogger Christina Capo)
In fulfillment of a campaign promise, President Trump and his administration have been dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA), little by little. Last September, they announced the closure of the health insurance exchanges. The president also cut the funding and personnel needed to enforce the ACA.
In October, the president signed an executive order weakening the ACA in five significant ways. The first change allowed for expanded access to association health plans. This, in effect, allowed health insurance companies to sell policies to customers across state lines. The second change eased restrictions on short-term health plans, while the third change allowed employers to use pretax dollars for health reimbursement arrangements. The fourth change ordered studies to find ways to limit monopolies. The fifth change ordered agencies to try to increase competition and choices in healthcare coverage.
Amid all of this, the biggest event was the elimination in December of the health insurance mandate, by cutting out the Obamacare tax on those who do not opt for healthcare insurance. Shortly after this, the Administration signed rules allowing states to refuse Medicaid to able-bodied recipients who do not meet minimum work requirements.
Here are some of the most significant implications of all this for the typical American:
- Healthy Americans will have lower costs. They can purchase a short-term plan or no plan at all, without any penalties.
- This will put a strain on hospitals, and cause a greater influx of low-income patients to emergency rooms.
- Patients with chronic conditions will see a rise in prices. The departure of healthy patients from insurance pools will lead to an increase in costs, as insurance companies try to remain profitable.
- National healthcare costs could also rise at a faster rate, as fewer people will receive low-cost preventative care, but will instead seek health care for more serious diseases.
Ethically, what is best for the patient? Should a patient be allowed to choose a lower cost plan with fewer benefits, but be at a higher risk for a visit to the emergency room? On the other hand, what about the higher costs incurred by hospitals, an effect felt by the medical staff? What is best for the health of our nation as a whole?
Source: Donald Trump on Health Care