Since almost the moment he took office, President Donald Trump has issued a direct and relentless attack against Obamacare. Now, the POTUS’ attacks are starting to hit the pocketbooks of millions of middle-class Americans.
A new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation has found that health insurance premium rates are rising specifically for people who aren’t getting their coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act was experiencing something of a renaissance in 2015 when enrollment numbers jumped to 17.4 million people. In 2016, those numbers remained steady and then declined in 2017 to 15.2 million enrollees.
In the first quarter of 2018, Obamacare enrollment was down 12 percent compared to Q1 2017. Some enrollees started receiving employer-sponsored healthcare while others were able to take advantage of Medicaid expansion. However, a large number of individuals simply dropped their plans altogether because of rising costs experienced under Trump’s leadership.
“Much of this decline in overall individual market enrollment was concentrated in the off-exchange market, where enrollees are not eligible for federal premium subsidies and therefore were not cushioned from the significant premium increases in 2017 and 2018,” Kaiser’s analysis explains.
The Medicaid Gap
The problem lies with something known as the “Medicaid gap.”
Under this rule, some people make too little to qualify for subsidies but too much to qualify for Medicaid in states that have refused expansion. On the flip side, individuals in the upper-middle class gap, who make 400 percent of the poverty level, do not qualify for subsidies.
To be clear, the assumption that higher earnings would be able to afford the rise in premiums was wrong from the start, however, Trump’s continued sabotage has led to rapidly increasing premiums since he took office. Currently, premiums costs are up 25% for families earning 400 percent of the poverty level.
Now, Trump has repealed the individual mandate which “has raised concerns of further enrollment declines in the individual market, particularly among people who are healthier than average,” Kaiser finds.
Trump’s plan was created specifically with this goal in mind. His unregulated plans continue to draw Obamacare users away from the marketplaces, disrupting risk pools and driving premiums to all-time highs.
Sadly, the July Kaiser Health Tracking Poll reveals that maintaining protections for pre-existing health conditions is “either the single most important factor or a very important factor” for 74 percent of Democratic voters, 64 percent of independent voters, and 49 percent of Republican voters.
President Trump’s administration hasn’t just focused on destroying certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act, they have also reduced advertising for the program while introducing association health insurance plans that cover fewer benefits than traditional ACA plans.
Sadly, rather than attempting to fix the numerous issues involved with the Affordable Care Act, Republicans continues to fight against the very existence of affordable health care for millions of Americans.