Any initiative President Trump and his administration presents to the public is criticized as junk as soon as it is presented. It is criticized without any evidence for the criticism because it does not fit into the Democrat’s narrative of “Medicare for All.”
When the Trump administration rolled out the plan to once again let associations sell healthcare insurance plans to its individual and small businesses Democrats charged that these plans would be worthless.
The mainstream media did not publicize the Trump administration’s initiative. The fact that Obamacare has resulted in higher premiums and deductibles for small businesses and individuals has been downplayed by the mainstream media. In fact, we occasionally see articles declaring that the people like Obamacare. Only twelve million people are insured by Obamacare.
It is not true that people like Obamacare. The fact is premiums and deductible are not affordable for many on Obamacare despite the fact that 85% of the enrollees receive federal government subsidies
The fact is that individuals without healthcare insurance and who do not qualify for Medicaid need insurance. They are stuck buying Obamacare insurance because they do not have any other option. Many have had to go uninsured because they could not afford premiums and deductibles. Many have gotten jobs in our excellent economy where the large employers pay for group healthcare insurance.
The associations’ plans were proposed to provide a less expensive alternative to Obamacare by allowing workers and small businesses to pool together to buy healthcare insurance through the association.
An association, like big corporations, has the ability to negotiate with healthcare insurance companies to lower premium prices and deductible. The tax treatment is also favorable.
The association initiative started in January 2019. Early evidence suggests that the initiative is working out — at least for now.
“The administration’s alternatives, known as “association health plans,” have been covering the same benefits that Obamacare plans do, even though they are not obligated to, according to a new analysis by the industry publication Modern Healthcare and another by AssociationHealthPlans.com.”
Just like Obamacare plans, the associations’ plans are paying for prevention, visits the doctor’s office and the hospital, emergency medicine, prescription drugs, maternity care, and mental healthcare.
The plans are also covering people with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer or diabetes.
“In fact, the plans are required to cover all of the above. This is an aspect of their coverage that was not well publicized by the mainstream media, according to Kev Coleman, president of AssociationHealthPlans.com. “That’s something that was lost in the mix.”
The requirement is part of Obamacare’s regulations. Since Obamacare has not yet been repealed by Congress the rules will remain.
“Officials in the Department of Labor announced new rules for the plans in June, with some of the plans allowed for purchase beginning in September. Since then, at least 28 plans have launched in 13 states, according to Coleman’s analysis.”
Self-employed consultants working out of their homes, plumbers, and massage therapist are joining associations to have the negotiating power of large numbers of people seeking healthcare insurance.
Chambers of commerce and small cities have been forming state trade associations and their employees are joining these rapidly forming associations and enrolling in their insurance plans.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation has 59,000 farmers and ranchers in their association. The associations are similar to what Jeff Bezo,Jamie Diamond and Warren Buffett are planning to do for their 700,000 employees. They plan on selling the insurance across state lines which will reduce the price even further than the 33% reduction the associations are anticipating offering.
The Obama administration had limited the formation of associations selling healthcare insurance. Associations were selling their own plans. They were inexperienced administrating them. Some associations went bankrupt. Large healthcare insurance companies have strict criteria and oversite. Self-run associations are going to take longer than.
Associations are being formed. Outside health insurers have run a few association plans since September 2018. Associations were only allowed to begin running their own plans beginning in January 2019.
Critics complain that the healthcare insurance industry is providing teaser rates to associations now. The critics claim the healthcare insurance companies will eventually raise the premiums. It is a possibility. However, with the increase contributions allowed for Medical Savings Accounts and Health Savings Accounts, association members will have a financial incentive to become a prosumer. Consumers would have incentive to become responsible for their health and healthcare dollars.
“A more recent study by the Congressional Budget Office projected that 5 million would be enrolled in the plans each year, 1 million of whom would otherwise have been uninsured. The analysis did not assess how many people on Obamacare would become uninsured.”
The Trump administration plan is truly a disruptive plan to the healthcare industry and government healthcare establishment. The Democrats are terrified because it might work much better than Obamacare and result in a total rejection of “Medicare for All.”
“It’s not clear from the Gallup poll whether those who are now uninsured used to have an Obamacare plan or had one through an employer or government program. Other data, from the Department of Health and Human Services, show that the number of people in Obamacare plans has dropped only slightly since Obama left office.”
The problem is that enrollment in Obamacare has not risen while the uninsured has.
The number of people on Medicaid has risen dramatically due to some states accepting Medicaid expansion. The federal government is due to stop paying over 90% of the bill for Medicaid and transfer the burden of payment to those states. Most of those state have large budget deficits that are only going to become larger.
“The highest increases in the uninsured rate were among women, people living in households with annual incomes of less than $48,000 a year, and adults under the age of 35. The young adults had an uninsured rate of more than 21 percent, a 4.8 percentage point increase from two years earlier. Among women, the uninsured rate increased from 8.9 percent in 2016 to 12.8 percent by the end of 2018.”
People cannot afford Obamacare premiums or deductibles. Associations might provide more affordable options. People working for large organizations presently have healthcare coverage.
Consumers understand how inefficient government-run programs have been. It is appropriate to let the free market give it a try. The formation of associations with appropriate regulations is certainly a free market step as opposed to the Democrats’ Obamacare that has failed. It is clear that government control of medical care is financially unsustainable.
We will see how associations and consumers responsible for healthcare dollars works out.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.
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