The assault on Obamacare begins | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The assault on Obamacare begins

Posted By on Sat, Jan 21, 2017 at 6:25 AM

click to enlarge FEELING BETTER? Trump starts Obamacare assault. - REUTERS
  • Reuters
  • FEELING BETTER? Trump starts Obamacare assault.
Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. What does this mean?

It likely has implications for Arkansas, presuming the Trump administration will be open to additional co-pays, work requirements and other ideas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has had to change the Medicaid expansion Arkansas has adopted.

The New York Times early analysis:

The one-page order, which Mr. Trump signed in a hastily arranged Oval Office ceremony shortly before departing for the inaugural balls, gave no specifics about which aspects of the law it was targeting. But its broad language gave federal agencies wide latitude to change, delay or waive provisions of the law that they deemed overly costly for insurers, drug makers, doctors, patients or states, suggesting that it could have wide-ranging impact, and essentially allowing the dismantling of the law to begin even before Congress moves to repeal it.
Already last night speculation arose that this could bring the end of penalties for those who don't get health insurance. If that's so, it will put a seismic crack by which a variety of fees help pay for the program as well as encourage the broad participation that holds down premiums.

While the Obama administration allowed “hardship exemptions” to the mandate, the Trump administration could conceivably interpret the requirement in a more lenient way, so that more people would not be penalized.

Likewise, federal officials could be more receptive to state requests for waivers under Medicaid, the federal-state program that covers more than 70 million low-income people. A number of Republican governors and state legislators would like to charge higher premiums or co-payments than are now allowed. Some states want to provide a less generous, less expensive package of benefits, or require some able-bodied adults to engage in work activities as a condition of receiving Medicaid.
Frog in water. With enough changes over time, hundreds of thousands will be bereft of health coverage and perhaps dead. And maybe a politically insignificant number — or type of voter — will notice.

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