America’s health organizations just issued a joint statement warning that President Trump’s anti-Obamacare executive order will likely spike premiums and disrupt the individual market.
“This order has the potential to price millions of people with pre-existing conditions and serious illnesses out of the individual insurance market and put millions more at risk through the sale of insurance plans that won’t cover all the services patients want to stay healthy or the critical care they need when they get sick,” reads a statement signed by 18 health groups, including the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and United Way Worldwide.
Trump’s order allows small businesses to buy health insurance together under what are called association health plans, which do not have to follow the same ObamaCare regulations. Healthcare experts worry that this will incentivize healthy people to buy cheaper plans, which will cause sick people’s premiums to spike and puts healthy people at risk of not being adequately covered in the event of a medical emergency.
“Together, these actions would likely split the market between those who need the comprehensive benefits provided under current law and those who are currently healthy and can gamble with substandard coverage,” the groups wrote.
“With these actions,” Trump said of the order, “we are moving toward lower costs and more options in the health care market, and taking crucial steps toward saving the American people from the nightmare of Obamacare…. This is going to be something that millions and millions of people will be signing up for, and they’re going to be very happy.’’
“Siphoning off healthy people into risky, low-value plans, could leave millions of Americans with chronic or serious illnesses in an unsustainable insurance pool with rising premiums and fewer choices,” the health groups continued. “It could also leave those who are healthy seriously underinsured when they face an unexpected health crisis.”
High ranking officials from the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Hospital Association also forcefully condemned the order.
AMA President David O. Barbe said he worries it would “weaken important patient protections and lead to instability in the individual health insurance market.”
“Today’s Executive Order will allow health insurance plans that cover fewer benefits and offer fewer consumer protections,” said Tom Nickels, executive vice president of the American Hospital Association, in a statement. “No one can predict future health care needs with complete certainty and such plans could put patients at risk when care is needed most.”
The order will take months to enact and even longer to take effect, with most experts estimating that it will lead to sweeping changes in the marketplace in 2019.