President Donald Trump’s decision earlier this month to end federal subsidies to insurance companies on the Obamacare exchanges will, ironically, allow many more individuals to qualify for free health insurance.
The Wall Street Journal noted Friday: ” When sales of plans on the law’s exchanges begin Nov. 1, a growing number of consumers around the country will be able to get coverage for 2018 without paying any monthly premium … because they qualify for larger federal premium subsidies that cover the full cost of a plan, according to the new analysis.”
Obamacare provides subsidies to individuals making up to about $48,000 per year. Because Obamacare links those individual subsidies to the price of the second-highest Obamacare option, i.e. the Silver Plan, when the price of insurance goes up, so do the individual subsidies, meaning that some customers will qualify for “no-premium” plans.
Insurance companies are eager to enroll “no-premium” patients, because they will still be paid by the federal government even if the enrollees contribute nothing to their own insurance premiums.
When the administration decided to end the subsidies to insurance companies, it stressed that those subsidies had already been declared illegal and unconstitutional by a federal court, because they were never appropriated by Congress. The subsidies for eligible individuals, however, were not challenged, and Trump did not end them.
As a result, according to the Journal, at least half a million Obamacare enrollees in California will be eligible for “free” private health insurance:
In California, which isn’t included in the federal data, there is a “huge increase from last year” in the number of people who are eligible for zero-premium plans, said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state’s ACA exchange. Covered California currently has about 1.1 million enrollees who receive federal-premium subsidies, and more than half of them will be able to buy a no-premium plan for 2018, he said.
The no-premium insurance will only be “free” to those receiving it; the burden of paying for the premiums will still fall on taxpayers in general.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.