Accuracy in Media

President Trump has moved past trying to get legislation through Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act to actively sabotaging it, according to a story on MSNBC.

The story points to a list of things President Trump has done to sabotage the law developed by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-wing think tank, and “includes everything from scrapping ad campaigns to eliminating navigators, narrowing the enrollment window to threatening to cut off CSR payments.”

It’s not Trump’s fault Obamacare premiums are set to climb 45 percent on average next year in Florida, Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute wrote. Nor is it Trump’s fault nearly half the country will go into 2018 with only one carrier “option.”

In fact, most of the case for Trump being the cause of Obamacare’s problem falls apart upon inspection, Cannon wrote.

The Trump administration did not cause the instability we see in the exchanges, with insurers abandoning markets, sometimes at the last minute. When Obamacare came along, sicker people signed up, but healthy people did not. Insurers responded to this by designing their plans to discourage sick people from signing up. Either subsidize the insurers, Cannon wrote, or eliminate the rate-setting system that attempts to charge the sick and the healthy the same.

As to the charge raised by the MSNBC story, that the Trump administration is stoking instability by not committing to cost-sharing with insurers or by not investing in enrollment activities, Cannon said it is false. It’s the community rating price-setting principles that are roiling the market, and the only way out is to repeal them or add even more controls which will spur even more adverse selection.

According to the MSNBC piece, “instead of focusing on helping people, [Trump’s] emphasis is on creating partisan talking points.”

“The Trump administration does not have a duty to reduce the instability Obamacare creates, or to reduce the uncertainty Obamacare creates, or to make Obamacare ‘work,’” Cannon wrote. “The Trump administration’s only duty is to execute the law faithfully. So long as it does, it has the prerogative to pursue its political goals however it wants. I’m not aware of anyone accusing the Trump administration of now following the law in its handling of Obamacare.

When Obamacare was signed into law, more than 85 percent of Americans had health insurance and liked it. The Democrats passed it on a party-line vote, meaning the voices of most of those people were ignored.

They took it out over the rest of Obama’s presidency by electing Republican majorities in the House and Senate, Republican governors to 37 statehouses and Republican control to 68 of the nation’s 99 state legislative bodies. Today, 32 states have Republican governors and Republicans in control of both houses of the legislature, to only five controlled by Democrats. In all, nearly 1,100 elected positions turned from Republican to Democrat despite President Obama’s popularity.

“Reporters who say the Trump administration is causing or stoking instability in the exchanges are simply regurgitating partisan talking points,” Cannon wrote. “Embedded in that claim is the normative, disputed, and ultimately false premise that the Trump administration somehow has an obligation not just to follow the law, but to make Obamacare ‘work.’ That is a pretty radical notion, because it implies Obamacare opponents don’t have a right to use lawful means to press their views through the political process.”

 “Democrats did this to themselves,” Cannon said. “And they deserve nearly all, if not all, of the blame.” 

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