Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued a lengthy statement this morning before President Donald Trump signed an executive order attempting to subvert the Affordable Care Act. Trump's executive order, Kreidler warned, "almost guarantees the eventual collapse of our health insurance markets across the country."
The executive order Trump signed followed Congressional Republicans' failure to "replace and repeal" Obamacare. Instead, Trump's order directs three agencies to come up with methods to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, including a path for small businesses to join together and buy association health plans, ways for consumers to buy short-term policies without protections for pre-existing conditions, and allowing employers to reimburse employees in buying their own healthcare.
This, Kreidler said, "ignores the reality of how insurance works."
"The basic principle behind insurance is the more people you cover, the lower everyone’s costs. Trump’s executive order will allow healthier and younger people to pick skimpier, cheaper coverage, leaving the older and the sick to pay much more. This may lower some peoples’ costs in the short term — as long as they don’t get sick."
Kreidler said in the statement that while many in Washington state are enrolled in association health plans, some aren't required to include basic health coverage. Short-term plans, he added, have no protections for people with pre-existing conditions and often exclude maternity and mental healthcare.
Trump's order won't result in sweeping changes to our healthcare system immediately; the three federal agencies he directed to create these new rules have to go through a period of public review, which could take months, according to the New York Times. Still, Kreidler warned that the changes proposed within the executive order could have "irreparable damage."