To hear leftists like self-proclaimed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) talk, President Donald Trump and Republicans want to reduce access to health care for Americans by way of the continual efforts to adjust, rollback, or completely undo various regulations within the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
According to the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), however, the Trump administration’s deregulatory efforts have actually set the stage for at least 13 million Americans to access better or more affordable health care coverage than before, including at least one million or more newly insured citizens who otherwise would not have been covered at all, Breitbart reported.
Giving consumers the choice
The CEA’s claim came in its annual Economic Report of the President for 2020, specifically in a section titled “Free-Market Healthcare Promotes Choice and Competition,” which focuses on how various regulatory rollbacks and executive actions by the president have increased competition among healthcare insurers and providers and offered more choices for consumers.
By virtue of the increased choice and competition and the encouragement for states to be more flexible in what is allowed for consumers, the CEA asserted, “by 2023, we estimate that 13 million Americans will have new insurance coverage that was previously unavailable due to high prices and overregulation.”
One way to achieve that is through what has been deemed “consumer-directed health plans” (CDHPs) that include health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), both of which could be offered alongside or in place of typical employer-sponsored health insurance plans and, notably, are considered “portable” and can be retained by an employee even if they left the job they first obtained it from.
The way the HRAs work is by allowing employers to let employees choose an individually-tailored healthcare plan instead of the traditional group plan, while still treating it like a typical plan in terms of employee reimbursements and employer tax purposes. In other words, they provide more choice and flexibility. A study of the HRA rule estimated that, within 10 years, nearly a million previously uninsured individuals would gain coverage and upwards of 11 million Americans will have benefited from the individually-tailored plans.
More flexibility and choice
Other options that have been made available to the American people by the Trump administration include a number of plans that were previously barred under Obamacare, such as “high-deductible health plans” (HDHPs) that would feature vastly lower premiums, “short-term, limited-duration insurance” (STLDIs), and “association health plans” (AHPs).
The STLDI plans can cost as little as half of a typical Obamacare-compliant plan but, as the name implies, are only good for a short period of time. These kinds of plans would be ideal for young and healthy individuals who don’t want or need an expensive Obamacare plan and, thanks to the rollback of the onerous individual mandate, would likely otherwise go uninsured.
As for the AHPs, those allow small businesses to group together — either regionally or by industry — to obtain group plans similar to those offered by large businesses that would otherwise be unavailable or unaffordable for the small businesses and their employees on their own, which introduces economy of scale and lowers costs for all involved.
“As a result of STDLI and AHP rules, the CBO and the U.S. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that over the next decade, roughly 5 million more people are projected to be enrolled in AHPs or short-term plans,” the CEA wrote. “Of this increase, almost 80 percent constitute individuals who would otherwise have purchased coverage in the small-group or nongroup markets. The remaining 20 percent (roughly 1 million people) are made up of individuals who are projected to be newly insured as a result of the rule.”
Trump doing the opposite of what Democrats claim
All of that to say, rather than take away health insurance or reduce access to healthcare for Americans, President Trump has actually done the reverse and provided people with more choices and more competition via the free market in a manner that reduces costs and ultimately results in more people being covered in the long run.
Keep that in mind the next time Sen. Sanders or other Democrats try to tell you that the only way to ensure everybody has healthcare coverage is by way of government mandates and a socialized, government-run, single-payer system that stifles competition, removes choice, and destroys cost-saving innovation and flexibility.