President Donald Trump claims his latest health care policy change will help small businesses. In fact, it does the opposite.
In remarks made after the finalizing of a rule change that will permit business owners to offer health reimbursement arrangements that employees can use to purchase coverage that doesn’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s rules, Trump said: “This announcement is a monumental victory for small businesses, for their workers and previously uninsured Americans who will now have access to high-quality health plans of their choice.”
The Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are clearly working based on the steep enrollment drop. This massive change has serious consequences for our economy: It will force many small businesses and solo entrepreneurs to pay more for health insurance or forgo coverage entirely.
The Trump administration is simultaneously working to end the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and advance a proposal that would help lower drug prices, which is like taking one step forward and eight steps back in terms of containing health-care costs.
Unfortunately, the administration’s missteps would be particularly damaging to the millions of small businesses, their employees and self-employed individuals who depend on the ACA.
Among President Trump’s most consistent policy positions is his desire to destroy the ACA at any cost. Although the effort to repeal the law famously flamed out in 2017, the president and his allies haven’t given up.
Regarding the Dec. 17 front-page article “Ruling injects anxiety into health-care system”:
A federal court’s declaration that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional could destabilize the ACA marketplaces, which is bad news for the small businesses, employees and solo entrepreneurs who rely on the ACA for quality, affordable insurance.
More than half of all ACA marketplace enrollees nationwide are small-business owners, self-employed individuals or small-business employees. The decision in Texas v. United States, however, could cause prices to rise for those millions of people if large numbers of consumers leave the health-care marketplaces because they believe the ACA will eventually be struck down. If that happens, those who remain in the marketplaces could face higher costs.
During debate over the Affordable Care Act in 2009, a prominent member of the U.S. House of Representatives made clear that any new federal health care legislation must create a framework for portable health care benefits in order to prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from being shackled to their jobs.
“[T]he key question that ought to be addressed in any health care reform legislation is, “Are we going to continue job lock, or are we going to allow individuals more choice and portability to fit the 21st-century workforce?’”
The House member who asked that question was not then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif). It was current House Speaker Paul Ryan, who was then and is now deeply opposed to the ACA. While Ryan did not expressly mention protections for people with pre-existing conditions in that specific statement, he did hint at the need for such safeguards because the best way to end “job lock” is to require insurance carriers to offer health coverage to customers with pre-existing conditions. What’s more, this statement unintentionally undermines a legal challenge to the ACA being made by some of Ryan’s allies.