(Boston, MA) - "Yesterday, the Trump Administration decided to double down on its efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by attacking two core aspects of the law: consumer protections and cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). After the congressional failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Trump is determined to utilize all tools available to him to challenge the individual mandate, water down the essential health benefits and decimate consumer protections with the potential of forcing a collapse of the marketplaces.
"After months of uncertainty and last-minute payments of CSRs for insurers that help make insurance affordable for low-income individuals, the Trump Administration announced last night that it would stop issuing those payments altogether. Health Care For All (HCFA) sees this as a reckless political move that can have drastic consequences as it can jeopardize coverage for thousands of Massachusetts residents.
"Consumers here in the Commonwealth - and across the country -- have significantly benefitted from the cost-sharing reductions President Trump has thoughtlessly revoked. This harmful decision will hurt families in the state by making health care more expensive and forcing consumers to make impossible choices between paying for their health care coverage and their rent, food and other essentials.
"The Executive Order signed yesterday directs federal agencies to promote "association health plans," which may offer bare bones coverage and exclude essential health benefits like maternity care, mental health, and prescription drug coverage in order to lower costs for younger, healthier people that may not need these benefits right now. The problem is that doing so will draw these consumers out of the ACA marketplaces and thereby increase costs for older, sicker people who depend on coverage to meet their health care needs.
"Trump's new order is a back-door repeal effort that will help to accomplish what he's been trying all along: to collapse the ACA by bringing up premiums and driving people and insurers out of the marketplaces. HCFA and other advocates are looking into how this EO would impact Massachusetts and if existing protections under the state law could safeguard consumers in the state.
"Health Care For All supports efforts to block the implementation of those two decisions whether through judicial or congressional action. We thank Governor Baker and his cabinet for their public opposition to these measures and their commitment to access to quality and affordable care for residents of the Commonwealth; we back Attorney General Maura Healy as she joins other prosecutors in a lawsuit arguing that the Administration is required by law to continue the payments; and lastly we are grateful for our Congressional delegation and their tireless advocacy to protect the ACA and encourage them to lead bipartisan efforts to allocate permanent funding for those payments and to stabilize the marketplaces and guarantee consumer protections for residents of Massachusetts and the rest of the country."
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www.hcfama.org is a Massachusetts nonprofit advocacy organization working to create a health care system that provides comprehensive, affordable, accessible, and culturally competent care to everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us.