DNC on Trump Intensifying His Health Care Sabotage

DNC CEO Jess O’Connell released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s refusal to guarantee the payment of cost-sharing reduction subsidies as states finalize rates for next year, and its continued efforts to sabotage health insurance markets:

“This is despicable. Health care is not a game of Russian roulette. But that’s exactly how the Trump administration is treating it by ignoring the will of the American people and unilaterally sabotaging our health care system. Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act to make health care more accessible and affordable for American families. It’s time for Republicans to stop playing games with people’s lives and start working with Democrats to protect and expand health care for all Americans.”

The Trump administration is pulling out of state-based events that promote enrollment in the Affordable Care Act.

BuzzFeed: “Regional representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services will not be participating in open enrollment events in the states as they have in years past, according to an administration source and an email sent to health advocates in Mississippi obtained by BuzzFeed News. The source, who had direct knowledge of the change, told BuzzFeed News that all of the department’s 10 regional directors were told to not to participate in state-based events promoting open enrollment — a significant change from years past.”

Confusion caused by Republican opposition to the ACA and the Trump administration’s refusal to make CSR payments permanent is fueling 2018 premium increases across the country.

Bloomberg: “Obamacare rates set to rise as Trump’s opposition fuels turmoil.”

NBC News: “Graham-Cassidy is officially over for now after Senate leaders announced they would not bring it up for a vote. But the damage to the health insurance market from the lengthy repeal debate is done — with higher premiums and fewer choices already baked into Obamacare’s 2018 exchanges.”

Citing uncertainty in federal operations and cost-sharing reduction payments, Anthem announced it was withdrawing from nearly all of Maine’s insurance markets.

Press Herald: “Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has withdrawn nearly all of its offerings from Maine’s Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace, and the insurer is citing market uncertainty and volatility as the reasons. ‘A stable insurance market is dependent on products that create value for consumers through the broad spreading of risk and a known set of conditions upon which rates can be developed,’ said Anthem spokesman Colin Manning in a statement. ‘Today, planning and pricing for ACA-compliant health plans has become increasingly difficult.’”

Insurers raised rates for 2018 ACA plans in Florida, primarily due to uncertainty created by the Trump-Pence administration.

Miami Herald: “Florida regulators said most of the average rate hike — 31 percentage points — came from standard plans sold on the ACA exchange at healthcare.gov. Insurers raised rates for those plans due to the political uncertainty that has plagued the healthcare debate, specifically whether the Trump administration will stop paying subsidies that lower out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans.”

Other states including Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia and New Jersey also recently saw insurers increase 2018 rates due to political uncertainty surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Wall Street Journal: “States including Kentucky, Mississippi and Virginia are approving average rates for major insurers that are at least 25% higher than 2017’s rates, according to regulators, with a sizeable share of those boosts tied to uncertainty at the federal level.”

The Trump administration plans to shut down healthcare.gov for 12 hours during all but one Sunday in the upcoming open enrollment season.

Kaiser Health News: “The Trump administration plans to shut down the federal health insurance exchange for 12 hours during all but one Sunday in the upcoming open enrollment season. The shutdown will occur from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET on every Sunday except Dec. 10.”