The New Administration Begins

After the inauguration, followed by powerful demonstrations of concern for what is to come, President Trump and Congress are getting down to business. In health care news:

  • Trump signed a confusing and vaguely-worded Executive Order to federal agencies regarding the Affordable Care Act. The order encourages agencies to dismantle parts of the law even before Congress repeals it. This could signal that the administration is not going to enforce key parts of the law, including consumer protections and the individual mandate. Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway was widely quoted as saying Trump may not enforce the mandate.
  • Senators Collins and Cassidy introduced a new bill to “replace” the ACA – but the bill is not a viable replacement. It would:
    • reduce the number of Americans with health insurance
    • repeal consumer protections protecting people with pre-existing conditions
    • increase deductibles and premiums
    • disrupt the employer-based coverage for all families
    • like Secretary Price’s Empowering Patients First Act, this bill restructures benefits so it is based on age, not income. That means a billionaire could get the same financial help as a low-income family.

See NHeLP’s press statement for more information. The bill is not expected to gain traction with Republicans.

NoHLA Works to Defend the ACA and To Improve Health Care for Washingtonians

With all that is happening at the federal level, health programs in Washington State are on a positive trajectory. In fact, the Obama administration has recently approved a 5-year Medicaid waiver to improve the quality of low-income residents’ health and health care. In the coming year, NoHLA will be working to ensure effective, person-focused implementation of the waiver, in ways that benefit vulnerable, low-income individuals. But at the same time, the federal threats mean we need to play a defensive role – watching every development and voicing our concern about its impacts on Washington residents. We’ll be communicating the impacts to you, and hoping to share stories about how proposed changes would affect members of our communities, and the state as a whole.

 

The Hostile Agenda Targeting Health Rights of Women, and Those in Poverty

In a new piece for The Huffington Post, National Health Law Program Executive Director Elizabeth G. Taylor explores the emerging conservative agenda on health rights, and how it disproportionately would harm women and those struggling to live on limited or insufficient incomes. Efforts to shape the U.S. Supreme Court, repeal the Affordable Care Act and limit the reach and scope of Medicaid would roll back progress and harm tens of millions of people. Taylor concludes we “cannot afford to return to the days when health care was a privilege reserved for the wealthy.”