5 actions Trump can take to undermine the ACA in 2018

Leo Vartorella - Print  | 

Congress failed to repeal and replace the ACA in 2017, and though it is unclear if Republicans will be able to dismantle the legislation with midterm elections looming in 2018, there are still actions President Donald Trump can take to undermine the ACA, according to The Hill.

Here are the five ways President Trump could weaken the ACA in 2018.

1. Follow through on his October executive order. President Trump signed an executive order in October aimed at easing ACA regulations on association health plans and extending short-term coverage. These policies have not yet been enacted, and many experts have questioned how hard President Trump will push them in 2018.

In a Thursday interview with The New York Times, President Trump said the threat of association health plans could be used as a bargaining tool in attempts to negotiate bipartisan health legislation with Democrats.

2. Continue outreach cuts. The Trump administration cut ACA outreach funding by 90 percent in 2017, and if President Trump decides to cut funding again, it is unclear what the implications will be for enrollment in 2018.

3. Target the essential health benefits. While President Trump cannot repeal the ACA's essential health benefits law without Congressional approval, he can loosen the definition of these benefits to give states the flexibility to change their interpretations of the law.

4. Allow insurers to leave counties. State insurance commissioners took many stopgap measures to prevent insurers from leaving counties in 2017, but unless the Trump administration takes steps to solidify markets in 2018, the ACA could weaken significantly.

5. Not support ACA stabilization bills. The Alexander-Murray market stabilization bill and a reinsurance proposal from Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, have received support from Senate leadership, but unless President Trump pressures the House to support the measures, they have a much lower chance of passing into law.

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