October 13, 2017

On CNN's New Day this morning, former CBO economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich explained to Alisyn Camerota why Trump's actions yesterday regarding Obamacare make no sense.

Holtz-Eakin discounted Trump's stoppage of payments that help low-income people with out-of-pocket expenses. Insurance companies are likely to do what Charles Gaba calls the "Silver Switcharoo" to offset the impact of that stupid decision. The process involves switching people from policies that depend on the low-income help Trump cancelled yesterday, to the Silver Plan help that isn't affected by Trump's executive order. So the poor people would get essentially the same amount of help from a more secure account, and the insurance companies won't lose customers (which is what this is really about). This process means that

"the insurance carriers and state insurance regulators have effectively nullified Donald Trump's CSR sabotage threat completely: Everyone pays exactly (or almost exactly) what they'd be paying otherwise anyway, the federal government still has to pay out the CSR funding (just from a different account), and Trump looks like the impotent idiot that he is."

But as Holtz-Eakin points out, this is doubly stupid because it is more expensive for the federal government to do it this way than to leave things the way they are. So Trump effectively increased the cost to the taxpayer for Obamacare. MAGA!

Robert Reich is still sounding the alarm for another group that will get screwed by Trump: those in the middle class who make just enough to put them over the limit for subsidies. Their premiums are going to go up and they will receive no help. And since the allegedly cheaper Trumpcare plans are not Obamacare plans, many of them don't cover pre-existing conditions. So, as Reich points out,

There are a lot of people — an estimated 6 million to 8 million people — I have seen the most latest estimates that are not going to be able to afford health insurance because of this change. We can debate exactly who they are, but the fact of the matter is they are lower income people and they won’t be able (to afford insurance).

Why do this? What is the point of doing this? Why is it necessary right now? Why when we are spending tens of millions for additional problems? Trump and Republicans want to spend more billions additionally on the military next year, and why can’t we afford $7 million for lower-income Americans for health care? That doesn’t make any sense.

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