The "Trump tax": analyst estimates that president's ACA sabotage increased health insurance premiums for tens of thousands of Arkansans (CORRECTED) | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The "Trump tax": analyst estimates that president's ACA sabotage increased health insurance premiums for tens of thousands of Arkansans (CORRECTED)

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 10:11 AM

NOTE: I communicated with Gaba regarding the Arkansas data and have made a correction to this post. See below.


Charles Gaba
, the health insurance data guru who has consistently made accurate predictions about enrollment numbers and premium changes, has a massive new post up today about the various forms of sabotage the Trump administration has tried against the Affordable Care Act.

While GOP legislative efforts mostly failed (with the exception of the repeal of the individual mandate, which doesn't kick in until 2019 but has likely already impacted enrollment), Trump did manage to cause some trouble for the millions of non-group private plans that must be compliant with the law. These are individual or family plans for people who buy insurance themselves because they don't have a plan through a job or a big public program like Medicare. Through a series of regulatory schemes, threats,  efforts to spook carriers, withholding promised reimbursement payments, interference with outreach and marketing, and other shenanigans, Gaba demonstrates that Trump was able to bump premium increases this year for those plans higher than they otherwise would have been.

Many Americans are entirely shielded from those increases because they are eligible for ACA subsidies. However, those who make more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level (that's $48,500 for an individual) aren't eligible for subsidies, and they're the ones who end up bearing the entire cost of what Gaba calls the "Trump tax."

It's not clear what the policy rationale for Trump's sabotage was, other than that he doesn't like Obamacare and wanted to create worse outcomes. Trump was happy to harm middle-class Americans simply out of pique.

Gaba estimated that the effects of the sabotage impacts almost 6.8 million Americans to the tune of $6.5 billion. In Arkansas, the Trump bump hit more than 90,000 people*, Gaba estimates, increasing their premiums by $47 per month more than they would otherwise be, or $564 over the course of the year. Make American great again.

I'm probably one of the only people on the planet interested in the deep weeds that Gaba gets in to in his analysis (there are plenty of caveats and these are estimates about a complex system), but you can see his detailed explanation here.

* CORRECTION: Gaba originally estimated more than 300,000 Arkansans would be impacted, but that appears to be an error based upon the inclusion of more than 200,000 private option enrollees, who are on the private plans in question but have their premiums paid for by Medicaid. Under the state's unique form of Medicaid expansion, the Medicaid program purchases private plans for eligible beneficiaries; the "Trump tax" would marginally increase the costs that the federal government and the state has to play for those plans, but wouldn't impact those beneficiaries. 

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

  • Authorities investigate accusation against Dean Elliott

    An accusation has been lodged against Dean Elliott, the Dillard's lobbyist and former state representative who is running for the District 15 seat in the state Senate, by a woman who claims that he was involved in a 2016 hit and run incident on Tennyson Drive in Conway that left her with severe injuries. Through a lawyer, Elliott says the allegation is false and politically motivated.
    • May 17, 2018
  • Rep. Jana Della Rosa disputes that Randell Shelton's Paradigm Consulting was a "bogus company"

    During the trial of former state Sen. Jon Woods and consultant Randell Shelton, the prosecution described Shelton's Paradigm Strategic Consulting as a "bogus company." But Rep. Jana Della Rosa, who paid Paradigm in 2014 for help with campaign messaging, said that Shelton did legitimate work for her.
    • May 16, 2018
  • A senator's vanity

    Spotted in Little Rock...
    • May 16, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Trump's strangulation of Obamacare

    If he can't kill it outright, Donald Trump will do all he can to cripple Obamacare. Vox has detailed reporting on deep cuts in federal spending that support nonprofit agencies that help people sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
    • Sep 18, 2017
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Most Viewed

  • The Tom Cotton Big Lie open line

    Here’s the Saturday open line with some info on Tom Cotton's attack on Clarke Tucker, apparently viewed as a threat to French Hill's re-election from the 2nd District.

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation