October 23, 2017

Piercing the Info Bubble on Trump’s Health Insurance Executive Order

The Presidential Seal on the podium at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth, N.H., before the start of a town hall meeting on health care reform, August 11, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

In trying to catch up on what was exactly going on with Trump’s Executive Order on the ACA, I did what I usually do. Avoided all cable and broadcast news, and instead opened up Vox, which is usually to the point, and informative. Then I did something that used to “not have time for” unless it was something super interesting – I also opened up Axios, and Reason.

The difference in the reporting between these three sources was interesting.

In Vox’s Dylan Scott’s estimation, the Executive Order specifically targets the ACA to weaken the insurance pool by pulling lower cost (healthier) customers toward solutions like small business association health plans. These plans will have “better flexibility” which could include less mandated coverage and higher costs, and exist as a threat to the viability of the ACA to stabilize the insurance and health care markets.

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The tone of this article matched my anger level, and viewpoint, for the most part. (Note: I am liberal scum.) Yes, this EO does go expressly against how the ACA was supposed to work. But Trump can’t get the GOP to do anything on health care, so he took vague action that nobody really knows how to implement, and it most likely won’t correct much in the long term.

According to Peter Suderman at Reason, this executive order could circumvent some of the problems with Obamacare (oh hi, terminology change,) namely the idea that circumventing Obamacare will destroy the free insurance markets and that this is the true “almost cunning” genius of Obamacare – anything but full buy in from all parties could cause the industry to collapse entirely.

It’s inferred here, because Libertarian viewpoint, that we can’t rightfully expect full participation and that its ridiculous to try. What, with the liberty and all.

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Sam Baker from Axios was much more objective than anyone else, but light on detail. Then I realized it is 2017 and everything is light on details because Trump and inept GOP. I was able to learn more about the EO in clear language than came from Vox or Reason, like that it also expands capability for Health Reimbursement accounts as well as expanding short term insurance options from the mandated 90 days to a full year.

I appreciated Axios for how objective their coverage seemed to be, and how succinct. Remember above when I said I liked Vox explainers for how to the point they are? Got NOTHING on Axios.

Looking through the links in each article, nobody seemed to have or link to the actual language of the order quoted in their pieces. Reason at least linked the WSJ which may have had it behind their paywall, but I couldn’t find it. So I opened up couple more sources – my local paper, the Idaho Statesman, The Hill, and HuffPo. None of their articles about the Executive Order actually carried the text. I hate this. Even if I go crosseyed from legalese, I want to see what things actually say. Its the only way to really KNOW with this administration. They tell lies for sport. The only thing that matters is what’s recorded.

Also, there were some viewpoints left out during my comparison. The idea was piercing my bubble, not crushing it under an avalanche of hyperbole and out right falsehood. There are some *cough*BreitbartFoxDRUDGE*cough* sources that don’t get my business because of their ability to constantly be on their inflammatory bullshit. If that’s the Trumpservative Voice in America, I would rather duct tape gag that mess and lock it in that most quiet room in the world up in Minneapolis than give them a click.

The language changes between usage of “Obamacare” vs the “American Care Act” were pretty telling, as far as being able to interpret where the authors were coming from. Each article did make a good point, and made me think about my expectations for what the future of health care in this country look like. I don’t mind the idea of the Association Health Plans, but I do think they should be required to hit minimum care and cost standards just like anything found in the exchanges currently. The short term insurance loophole is about as credible as a payday loan, but sometimes, a payday loan keeps the bill collectors at bay one more month while people put their lives together. It’s just preying on the poor and uninsured by charging increased prices for a shorter term agreement.

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Every article did express one idea clearly – that if these ideas make it through the implementation process as intended by the Trump Administration, it will be the end of Obamacare. The American people need to ensure that today is remembered as the day it officially became Trumpcare.

Peter Suderman got the most important point home the hardest. The language of the ACA, and the fact that it was fueled by conservative ideas, ensures that the only sensible alternative to its destruction is Single Payer. Medicare for All. Whatever you want to call universal health care, it’s the future. Not small time reforms that do nothing to right the injustices that drive up cost and heartache that come from what the ACA could have solved with a real bipartisan effort.

Now it’s up to the market, which is what the Right has wanted all along. Can we transition to what’s good for us, rather than what fills a few men’s pockets, before it’s too late and more money, dreams, retirements, homes, and people’s lives are lost?

Forgive me if I won’t be holding my breath, waiting on that transition to happen. It would cost a mortgage payment at the ER if I passed out and hit my head as it is. I’m a proponent of listening when people tell us who they are, and if Trump says that this is “just the beginning,” that means that there is more chipping away at health care coverage to come, potentially putting millions of people’s health and wealth in jeopardy.

(Update: Late Thursday, the Trump White House announced that he would also be “putting a stop to” cost-sharing reductions, which is $7 billion dollars to insurers that allowed 7 million low income Americans to obtain health insurance. This move combined with the Executive Order has overnight created conditions for a much larger health care crisis for the United States as we move into 2018.)

Tami Dooley 90 Articles
Chief Shade Officer

Tami is a 5th generation Idahoan, who is pretty sure these guys think Idaho is somehow Iowa, but is rolling with it. She lives in Boise with her husband and their poodle and is a rabid Boise State fan. After a short but illustrious career of standing in remote places holding a stop sign, Tami now holds a respectable job and feigns adulthood on a regular basis.

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