U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s assertion that the Trump administration is helping consumers “forgotten” by Obamacare is a fantasy.
Azar’s claims that the expansion of association health plans (AHPs) and short-term health insurance will bail out consumers priced out of health plans available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces ignore the reason those plans are becoming more expensive: because the administration is sabotaging the ACA.
AHPs and short-term insurance will pull younger and/or healthier people away from the ACA marketplaces, creating an unbalanced risk pool that disrupts the marketplaces and raises costs for everyone who remains in those marketplaces. These developments would be very bad news for the millions of small businesses, small business employees and solo entrepreneurs that depend on the marketplaces for quality, affordable insurance.
Azar also fails to mention that AHPs and short-term plans will offer limited benefits, or in some cases almost no benefits at all because they do not have to comply with ACA requirements. Such plans may be cheaper, but they are cheaper for a reason. Azar’s omission is irresponsible at best, and the administration’s actions will harm the small firms that drive our economy.