Obamacare debacle: Changes will likely mean higher costs, fewer choices, more uninsured

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A pair of actions by President Donald Trump could mean higher costs for those who get insurance through healthcare marketplaces, and potentially for those who get their insurance through employers.

On Thursday, President Trump issued an executive order that would allow "association health plans (AHPs), short-term, limited-duration insurance (STLDI), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs)."

These options often have higher deductibles and cover fewer things.

"The practical effect of that for consumers are you know you're likely to see less choice, less coverage, skinnier benefits and if that's what people want that's what people want but that's going to be the outcome," A public policy fellow with the non partisan Center for Community Solutions Loren Anthes said.

The second action the administration took, stops federal subsidies to insurance companies who participated in Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces.

This, according to the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office, will likely mean that premiums for those who purchase insurance through the ACA exchanges will see premiums rise by 20 percent.

Those who get subsidies from the government, which are the majority of people who get insurance from exchanges, will continue to get subsidies. For those who have a higher income and don't get subsidies, the cost is expected to increase.

"This is sort of a concentrated effort of a series of reforms to do what Congress couldn't do in terms of trying to dismantle the ACA. I would say in terms of the 200,000 or so Ohioans who rely on the Marketplace plans, especially those who are maybe middle income, they're going to see their costs rise dramatically and they're going to see their choices dwindle," Anthes said . "The consequences, while hard to predict, are likely going to mean higher costs, less options, more people uninsured.

Cleveland 19 reached out to multiple groups and lawmakers about the actions on Friday.

Democratic US Senator Sherrod Brown said in a statement:

"Pulling the rug out from under efforts to make Ohioans' health insurance more affordable is not the way to make healthcare work better," said Brown. "President Trump's actions threaten to raise healthcare costs and jeopardize insurance coverage for Ohioans. Now more than ever, Congress should come together and prevent prices from spiking for Ohio families." 

Republican Governor John Kasich provided a joint statement from himself and Democratic Colorado governor John Hickenlooper which said:

"The President's decision to eliminate cost-sharing subsidies is going to result in confusion and higher health insurance costs for many Americans.  Insurers will be forced to protect themselves from the uncertainty this creates and American families will pay more as a result and have less access to health care coverage.

"There is a better way. And it starts with providing the certainty that the health insurance markets require. Congress should immediately fund cost-sharing reduction efforts through 2019 to prevent wholesale chaos in our health insurance industry. We are working with governors across the country to find ways to stabilize the individual market with common sense reforms to build a health insurance system that is accessible and affordable for every American.

"States are where these common sense health care ideas are succeeding every day. Governors from both sides of the aisle have come together to create a blueprint for how Congress can stabilize markets and build a health insurance system that is accessible and affordable for every American. We stand ready to support Senators Alexander and Murray as they take important next steps to develop bipartisan solutions.

"Crashing the private market like this is needless and counterproductive.  Real bipartisan ideas that can stabilize and reform health care are at our fingertips."

The Alcohol Drug Abuse and Mental Health Services, ADAMHS, board of Cuyahoga county also provided a statement:

"Any changes that reduce the amount of insurance coverage – especially for our most vulnerable populations – has a negative impact on the individuals and families we serve. We will not understand the severity of the President's Executive Order until the current insurance coverage expires and people let the coverage lapse because they can no longer afford the premiums. Eventually, individuals who had insurance will end-up in the public system," said Valeria A. Harper, MA, CDCA, Chief Executive Officer of the ADAMHS board of Cuyahoga County. 

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