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18 Million People Could Lose Health Insurance Under President Trump

Category: Insurance Published: Saturday, 09 July 2016 Written by Chance Allen

Donald Trumps approach to health carecould cause the number of uninsured Americans to skyrocket, yet another group of expertspredicts.

This time around, the warning comes fromresearchers with a relatively conservative outlook - in other words, people generally sympathetic to what Trump, in theory, is trying to do.

A think tank called the Center for Health and Economy published a report on Thursday about the likely effects of Trumps call to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, akaObamacare. The Center is nonpartisan and includes board members from across the political spectrum. Its founder, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, once served as director of the Congressional Budget Office.

But Holtz-Eakin is also a longtime adviser to Republicans and frequent critic of the health care law. The Centers start-up funding came from the American Action Forum, which bills itself as a center-right policy institute.

Thursdays report reflects that perspective, highlighting what many people - and, in particular, many conservatives - would consider the upsides Trumps proposal to replace Obamacare with something terrific. Premiums for people buying coverage on their own would generally come down, the report says, while insurers would probably give beneficiaries access to more doctors and hospitals than the plans currently on the market do.

But there would be some big downsides too.Older people, as well as people with pre-existing conditions, would end up paying more for insurance. And many of them couldnt get coverage at all.The plans available on the market would probably have some combination of even higher out-of-pocket expenses and big gaps in benefits. People relying on either federal assistance or federal programs for health insurance would see that help dwindle or vanish altogether.

As a result, the report says, the ranks of the uninsured would immediately swell by 18 million - effectively reversing the historic expansion of insurance coverage that the Affordable Care Act has produced in its first three years.

That estimate, to be clear, is very rough. Trumps pronouncements on health care have been characteristically vague and contradictory. But he has vowed repeatedly to repeal Obamacare, calling it a disaster, and in March he laid out some principles for an alternative health care system. They echo ideas that many other Republicans have endorsed and, when it comes to insurance coverage, entail two basic sets of changes.

The first would be a total repeal of regulations that the health care law has placed on insurers. Today, insurers cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums to customers they believe are likely to run up high medical bills. In addition, insurance plans must meet a set of minimum standards, which include a limit on out-of-pocket costs and benefits like mental health and maternity care that the law deems essential.



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