President Trump promoting healthcare reform

President Trump promoting healthcare reform
March 26 17:26 2019 Print This Article

A day after the Justice Department asked a federal appeals court to declare Obamacare unconstitutional, President Trump said, “The GOP is going to be the party of healthcare.” A recent Gallup poll shows that rising health insurance premiums and deductibles is a concern for 61% of Americans. Trump is urging leaders in Congress to offer meaningful healthcare reform legislation.

Congress eliminated the penalty (or tax) under Obamacare for not purchasing a healthcare policy as part of the landmark Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. More than 80% of the households which paid the tax had incomes below $50,000. The Supreme Court ruled Obamacare constitutional in 2012, because the mandate to buy health insurance was based on Congress’s authority to tax.

The Trump Administration has made several administrative changes to effect healthcare reform. It allowed the creation of Association Health Plans (AHP’s), permitting small business networks or trade associations to purchase group health insurance. For example, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce is setting up an AHP that would allow 800,000 small business employees to purchase low cost plans. Another tool to help make policies more affordable is the expansion of Short-term Health plans, which allows the purchase of plans for up to 364 days. The short-term plans allow policy- holders to avoid paying for “essential health services” mandated by Obamacare which they may not need. The policies may be renewed for up to three years.

President Trump has laid out some of the healthcare reform concepts he wants Congress to enact. He wants to increase competition in the health insurance market by allowing consumers to purchase policies from insurers in other states. In his State of the Union address, Trump called for price disclosure in healthcare services and products, including pharmaceuticals. The costs for medical procedures, such as MRI’s and lab tests, can vary dramatically with the same metropolitan area, and the consumer often doesn’t have an opportunity to shop for the best price. Other options being considered are expanding the use of tax-free Health Savings Accounts and giving states more flexibility in administering the Medicaid program for low-income residents.