Trump Campaign Says New Study Is ‘Another Extraordinary Indictment’ of Obamacare

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Within hours of the release of a Kaiser Family Foundation study on Sunday the Donald Trump campaign released a statement that the report’s conclusions represented “another extraordinary indictment” of Obamacare and “Hillary Clinton’s disastrously poor judgment.”

The study, “Preliminary Data on Insurer Exits and Entrants in 2017 Affordable Care Act Marketplaces,” estimated that “the number of counties with a single marketplace insurer is likely to increase, from 225 (7% of counties) in 2016 to 974 (31% of counties) in 2017.”

It also estimated that “Approximately 6 in 10 counties could have 2 or fewer marketplace insurers in 2017.”

“The news that Americans living in more than 6 in 10 counties next year will only have one or at most two healthcare options under Obamacare is another extraordinary indictment of this law and Hillary Clinton’s disastrously poor judgment,” Stephen Miller, national policy advisor to Donald Trump said in a statement released by the Trump campaign on Sunday:

According to Miller:

Every policy she touches only produces more calamity. In this case, it means higher prices, fewer choices, and less control over one’s most private medical decisions. Yet Hillary Clinton thinks struggling Americans still have it too good. She wants to give the government more control over the entire healthcare system — taking away even more choices from American moms, dads and children. This is yet another crossroads in this election: America must repeal and replace this disastrous law or live under total government control.

The Kaiser Family Foundation study comes on the heels of recent reports that Obamacare rates are soaring and 16 of the 23 state exchanges established by the law have failed.

Under the Obama administration’s policies, the burden of paying for all this health care is falling on the middle class, the Wall Street Journal reported recently.

Citing data from the Brookings Institution and the Department of Labor, the Journal noted that “Middle-class families’ spending on health care has increased 25% since 2007. Other basic needs, such as clothing and food, have decreased.”

On Sunday, the Journal reported on the new Kaiser Family Foundation study:

Many insurers are losing money on the health plans they sell through the exchanges, and the fallout is coming into focus. Companies including UnitedHealth Group Inc., Humana Inc. and Aetna Inc. have cited their losses in withdrawing from ACA marketplaces, as have smaller insurers that have been retreating, or even shutting down.

The insurers that remain are in some cases seeking sharp premium increases for next year, trying to get back in the black amid higher-than-expected costs.
At least one county—Pinal in Arizona—is at risk of having no insurers offering marketplace plans next year, despite talks between regulators and insurers aimed at filling the void.
Some consumers who don’t get coverage through work might be able to buy health plans outside the exchanges, but many lower-income Americans who buy their own plans would be limited to exchange plans. The health law generally requires them to buy such plans to qualify for federal subsidies.
States including Alabama, Alaska, Missouri, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee are likely to go next year to having one insurer in all or most counties, Kaiser’s analysis found. Regulators in those states confirmed the findings, except in Florida and Missouri, where officials said they didn’t yet have counts.

None of this cascading bad news about Obamacare bodes well for Hillary Clinton politically in the November election for president against Republican nominee Donald Trump.

A recent Health Day/Harris Poll survey shows Hillary Clinton has a slight lead over Donald Trump in voter perceptions on her handling of health care, but given her decades of high visibility and public involvement in health care issues, the survey also found that voters have little confidence in her proposed solutions.

“Given that Clinton has such a long experience in health care policy — more than 20 years — and that Trump has virtually none, it is perhaps surprising that she only has a rather modest advantage on health care issues,”  Humphrey Taylor, chairman emeritus of the Harris Poll, said of the poll results.

Indeed, a look at her campaign positions on her plans to “fix” health care show that her policies represent little more than a doubling-down on the current failing Obamacare policies.

According to her campaign website, “As president, Hillary will: Defend and expand the Affordable Care Act, which covers 20 million people. Hillary will stand up to Republican-led attacks on this landmark law—and build on its success to bring the promise of affordable health care to more people and make a ‘public option’ possible. She will also support letting people over 55 years old buy into Medicare.”

Her campaign website says she will also:

  • Fight for health insurance for the lowest-income Americans in every state by incentivizing states to expand Medicaidand make enrollment through Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act easier.
  • Expand access to affordable health care to families regardless of immigration status. Hillary will expand access to affordable health care to families regardless of immigration status by allowing families to buy health insurance on the health exchanges regardless of their immigration status.
  • Expand access to rural Americans, who often have difficulty finding quality, affordable health care. Hillary will explore cost-effective ways to make more health care providers eligible for telehealth reimbursement under Medicare and other programs, including federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics.

Despite making public statements about health care policy for more than two decades, Hillary Clinton offers remarkably little in the way of substantive policies to improve health care.

Even her allies find this troublesome.

“People in the Clinton camp say she recognizes that as president she’d have to get Obama’s law working better, and is taking nothing off the table,” one supporter recently wrote at the Spokesman Review, Spokane,Washington’s daily newspaper.

The Trump campaign clearly believes that Donald Trump’s policy of taking Obamacare off the table is more likely to resonate with voters in November.


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