Commentary

It’s past time for the president to stop sabotaging the ACA

Even though efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act outright appear to be dead for now, President Trump, in keeping with his misleading “promise” to let the law “fail on its own,” continues to work to sabotage it.

This effort has been aided by cynical proposals in congress — including an “American Health Care Act” that was actually quite un-American, a “Better Care Reconciliation Act” that wouldn’t have provided any better care and a so-called “skinny repeal” that was really just feeble and anemic.

And now, even though some members of Congress have started working in a bipartisan manner to improve health care delivery and stabilize the market, Trump is again working to sow confusion and fear. As Labor Day weekend approached, the administration announced that despite the amazing success of the ACA Navigator Program in helping more than nine million Americans become insured, it would be cutting funding by 40 percent. Funding for local Navigators will now be based on their success in meeting previous year enrollment goals–goals that are likely to have been unmet due to the Trump administration’s previous action to slash the outreach and marketing budgets during the last ACA open enrollment period.

So, if a local program achieved 100 percent of its goals, it gets the same level of funding. If 70 percent, then it  gets 70 percent funding. If 40 percent then, yes, 40 percent funding. This “performance based” measure fails to take into account that it’s likely in the fifth year there are people who select to be auto-enrolled.

During Open Enrollment Four (OE4) 549,158 North Carolinians enrolled in private plans through the Marketplace, an impressive fourth place behind California, Florida and Texas.

Once again, however, instead of celebrating gains through the ACA and working on policies to move Americans forward, the Trump administration is busy looking backward to find more ways to sabotage an incredibly successful public initiative established by his predecessor.

The bottom line: Public opinion polls show that people want, by sizable margins, to improve the ACA. With repeal now “off the table,” we need policymakers — the President included — to listen to their constituents and to pull up their chairs and get to work on making the law work even better for everyone.

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