The Trump administration has finally released the proposed rule that forms the next bit of promised Trumpian sabotage on the Affordable Care Act. It would allow some small businesses and trade groups to form associations to buy health insurance. These plans would allow for cheaper plans that don’t comply with some of Obamacare’s coverage requirements and patient protections. So cheap, skimpy plans that don’t cover actual health issues would be allowed again.
The proposed rules stem from an executive order President Donald Trump signed in October directing federal agencies to loosen restrictions on short-term health insurance and association health plans, in a bid to create more competition and drive down premiums. However, state insurance regulators and Obamacare advocates have warned the lax rules could open the door to a new wave of poorly regulated health plans that offer limited coverage.
The proposed rule issued Thursday by the Labor Department would rewrite existing regulations under the federal ERISA law to let more groups qualify as associations that can purchase coverage outside the Obamacare markets.
The major concern is a proliferation of these cheap plans will draw healthy people out of the Obamacare markets, leaving the more expensive, sicker people, driving up premiums and further crippling the law. And it’s here where the Trump administration’s real incompetence shines.
That would be the individual mandate that was repealed by the new tax law. That doesn’t exist anymore. That Trump has been repeatedly and falsely touting as the end of Obamacare. They couldn’t even manage to update this rule-changing proposal in the two weeks since that law passed.