Tuesday, March 13, 2018

WSJ Exposes Trump Admin Memo & Plan To Squeeze Older Folks In ACA Plans

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"Hey, I never promised older folks a rose garden! Even if they voted for me!"

The article by Stephanie Armour: 'Memo Details ACA Revamp' (WSJ, Mar. 7, p. A5) for the first time details how the Trump administration plans to shaft older (age 55-64) people who currently have signed onto the ACA.  We also learn the Trump bunch is feverishly pushing their plan "because the legislation would have to pass before insurers set the 2019 rates".

The basic details from the WSJ piece:

"The memo encourages lawmakers to pass measures including allowing insurers to charge older people fives time as much as younger people and expanding access to health savings accounts (HSAs) and increasing the amounts people can contribute to them."

In respect of the HSAs, these  primarily benefit affluent people who can afford to save more.  In other words, you need to have ample disposable income to shell out of pocket for your care, and then you can make effective use of the HSAs. But if you're a Walmart or Burger King worker, that's about as pie in the sky s expecting to win your state lotto just as your health care is demolished.

In terms of gouging older people, it is important to note (ibid.):

"The Affordable Care Act currently restricts insurers to charging older buyers three times as much as younger ones, which has checked premiums for 50-somethings and 60-somethings compared to what they might have been otherwise."

The last is important, because prior to the ACA the typical 60- year old - minus any employee plan - and still too young to go on Medicare- so would have to try access to a high deductible plan or COBRA - if he can get it. The first type typically wouldn't  kick in until he shells out $10,000 or so, and the latter costs nearly $650 a month.  A $4,000 tax credit will do almost nothing for him, especially if he is diagnosed with something like prostate cancer. If my experience is any guide, the full costs that would be paid for a standard treatment would be nearly $50,000.

As I warned in earlier posts about these forecast changes to the ACA by the Trump Nazis:

"God help all the Trump voters and other poor or unemployed if Trump goes through with his plans. They will now face steep costs for dealing with everything (in the coming years) from antibiotic resistance, to worm infestations of their brains, to cancers from new drinking water threats, e.g.  thanks to a Trump "executive order" allowing coal companies to  now dump coal waste into fresh water streams at will."

Oh, one more thing, as the piece notes:

"The administration also wants any ACA stabilization plan to allow for the renewal of short term plans that don't comply with the health law."

In other words, folksies, you can now be dinged for pre-existing conditions or even left out of health plans entirely. Also, if you do manage to get insured, your coverage will be more limited and more liable to run out before all costs are covered leaving YOU holding the bag.

One prediction I will make if this loathsome deal goes through is that many more 55-64 year olds will be doing their best to get onto Social Security disability insurance - especially if they are currently unemployed. Say on account of being displaced by automation or prevented from working owing to ageist bias. See e.g.


Welcome to Trump world!

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Meanwhile, "'Trump Country' is not experiencing the renaissance he predicted" — nor will it down the road, because, as Dionne adds, Trump "could not have kept his outsize promises in the first place." And that is all too typical of the authoritarian hooligan to whom America's white working class has sold its soul.

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