Senators Say Trump Administration’s Effort To Dismantle ACA Costing Americans

They cite increases being requested by health insurance carriers.


Washington DC (KM). The Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans are being taken to task for proposed increases in health insurance premiums. During a conference call Monday for reporters, Maryland Senators Ben Cardin (D) and Chris Van Hollen (D) say  efforts by President Trump and the GOP to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, are making health care more costly to Americans.

Senator Cardin says the proposed increases being requested by insurance carriers  for those enrolled in the individual marketplace, customers who receive subsidies to help pay for  their coverage,  is between 18.5% and 91.4%. “These rate increases just underscore what President Trump’s Administration has done to adversely affect the individual market. They have taken direct steps to basically make it not work,” he says.

Senator Van Hollen points to the provision in the tax bill passed by Congress last year which eliminates the mandate that requires Americans to have health insurance. “When you remove the requirement that everybody participate in purchasing in insurance, you see these dramatics hikes in premiums,” he said. In many instances, those who are older and have medical problems will sign up, while  younger and healthier citizens will  not.

The two Senators say other decisions by the Trump Administration which have hurt the individual insurance marketplace  include refusing to make the cost sharing payments. Also, “the federal government has not  implemented a reinsurance program,” says Senator Cardin. “And a reinsurance program at a national level would help stabilize the rates in the individual marketplace.”

None of this comes as a surprise to Senator Van Hollen, noting that Republicans in Congress tried last year, but failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “The Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress telegraphed very clearly that they intend  on destroying the individual market, where we had hoped to reduce premiums and stabilize prices,” he says.

Efforts to try to turn this situation around could mean a change in membership in Congress, according to Van Hollen. “They’re {the GOP}  refusing to make measures to could help reduce these premiums and these health care cost increases,” he says “Obviously, the more members of the Senate, the more members of the House we have to vote in favor of these members, the faster we can get it done.”

The two lawmakers says the availability of affordable health care will be a major issue during this year’s mid-term elections. “The voters want to know how we’re going to work to insure that we have an affordable, quality  health care system that people have access to,” says Senator Cardin.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Insurance Administration says health insurers are seeking increases in the premiums for their customers in the  Individual Non-Medigap Plan, and the small group plans (50 or less contracts). The agency some carriers in the Individual Non-Medigap program are seeking increases of between 18.5% to 91.4% which could affect 211,773 members. Insurers with small group plans are asking for increases of between 1.1% to 15.6%. That could affect up to 264,835 customers.

The agency says those who carry dental insurance are asking for an increase of 4.9% which could affect 58,788 customers.

These increases do not affect health insurance plans offered by employers, self-insurance plans and plans which were “grandfathered” before March, 2010.


By Kevin McManus