Let’s Discuss President Trump’s Healthcare Executive Order

Photo credit: LollyKnit, CC BY 2.0.

I was already planning to write about the Affordable Care Act today; I still don’t know any of my Washington State ACA options besides the one option that’ll increase my premiums by $102.86 per month, but I have been collecting reports from other states:

  • In California, the cost of ACA silver plans will go up by nearly 25 percent.
  • In Florida, premiums will rise by an average of 45 percent.
  • In Illinois, silver plans will increase by roughly 35 percent, bronze plans by 25 percent, and gold plans by 16 percent.
  • In Georgia, rates are scheduled to go up by 57 percent.

(For comparison’s sake, the cost of my bronze plan will be increasing by 35 percent.)

So that’s what I was going to discuss today, and then this happened:

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday morning intended to allow small businesses and potentially individuals to buy a long-disputed type of health insurance that skirts state regulations and Affordable Care Act protections.

As the Washington Post reports, President Trump is taking health care reform into his own hands. (Literally.)

The White House and allies portray the president’s move to expand access to “association health plans” as wielding administrative powers to accomplish what congressional Republicans have failed to achieve: tearing down the law’s insurance marketplaces and letting some Americans buy skimpier coverage at lower prices. The order is Trump’s biggest step to carry out a broad but ill-defined directive he issued his first night in office for agencies to lessen ACA regulations from the Obama administration.

We won’t be able to enroll in these association health plans for 2018, because it’ll take a while to set ’em all up. From what I understand, they’ll be similar to the faith-based health insurance pools we looked at earlier this summer; small businesses or organizations will be able to create their own health associations that come with their own rules. These association health plans won’t have to meet ACA guidelines, which means they won’t have to cover pre-existing conditions, they won’t have to cover birth control, they won’t have to cover wellness exams, etc. etc. etc.

They won’t even need to be licensed, which seems to indicate that anyone can put together an association health plan without any oversight. (Probably not anyone, but you know what I mean.)

It makes me wonder if there’s a way to join up with other small business owners and create the best association health plan ever. If Trump signed this executive order so that ACA insurers would lose customers to association plans, then is it possible to create a plan that would be so good that people would be excited to sign up? Since we’ll be able to sell association health plan memberships across state lines—another Executive Order action—we could create the type of health insurance that should exist, and sell it to as many people as we can.

Now I’ll let you explain to me why that’s an impractical fantasy.

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