May 29, 2017

The giant toddler in the White House is doing unthinkable harm to those of us who need premium supplements under the Affordable Care Act.

In the Washington Post this morning, Greg Sargent points to cause and effect.

He spoke to Brad Wilson, the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Wilson says they will try to raise premiums by 22.9 percent next year. Under previous conditions, he says, they would have raised them by 8.8 percent, but since Trump is playing games about whether his administration is going to fund cost-sharing reductions (which subsidize out-of-pocket costs for lower-income people on the individual markets), they're asking for more.

Republicans in Congress have not appropriated the funds.

Wilson said the failure of the Trump administration and Congress to guarantee that these subsidies will continue is why rates will continue to soar.

"It must be stressed that Trump’s own stated rationale for threatening to cut off the payments is just nonsense," Sargent wrote.

"The threat appears rooted in pique over the failure to secure the “win” of repeal. Trump has repeatedly said the threat will force Democrats to the table to make a deal on Obamacare’s future. But Republicans are currently pursuing a repeal-and-replace plan that would do a lot more damage to the law than ending the payments would, so it’s unclear why any Democrats would join them in that effort, in response to a threat to do relatively less (though still severe) damage. The only conceivable way Democrats could make a deal with Trump is if he were open to fixing, rather than repealing, the law, which he isn’t."

So the only thing Trump’s threat is doing is driving up premiums.

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