Healthcare

Is the White House Even Dumber Than We Thought?

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump clearly hasn't taken his failure on health care very well and he demonstrated this by furiously tweeting dozens of times over the weekend while he was both on and off the golf course.

Among other things, Trump threatened to punish sick people by ending CSR payments (cost-sharing subsidies for insurers) which would cause the market to collapse.

But the goal is not to punish sick people according to White House budget director Mick Mulvaney. He says the goal is to punish insurers and Congress.

Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” about Trump’s threat on Saturday to end subsidies that affect low-income individuals, Mulvaney said he “talked to the President at length about that exact issue yesterday.”

“I think his attitude is this, and his attitude is pretty simple,” Mulvaney said. “What he’s saying is, look, if Obamacare is hurting people — and it is — then why shouldn’t it hurt insurance companies and more importantly perhaps for this discussion, members of Congress?

For those who need a refresher: the cost-sharing subsidies redistribute funds from one insurer to another if one is covering significantly more sick people than the other. This stabilizes premiums for everyone across multiple insurers so that one insurer is not forced to charge significantly more just because they're covering more sick people.

It would be no skin off the backs of insurers and members of Congress if CSR payments were cut off tomorrow. Members of Congress may feel additional political pressure from their constituents who suffer as a result, but they will personally be fine.

Insurers, meanwhile, could respond by dumping markets that depend heavily on CSR payments. Insurers would probably prefer if that didn't happen, and I'm sure they would prefer to continue receiving the subsidies, but it's not as if they will "suffer" for it.

The only people who would suffer as a result are patients who may lose their insurance entirely or face significantly higher premiums.

Congress can (and should) put an end to Trump's constant threats to throw individual markets into chaos by taking the matter out of the executive branch's hands by appropriating funds for the CSR payments.

It's ironic that Republicans may be forced to take more action to curtail executive power under Trump than they did under President Obama. They spent 8 years arguing that President Obama was lawless dictator, but Trump is the man they may be forced to confront. It would also be extremely ironic if they appropriate the cost-sharing subsidies because a House Republican lawsuit against the subsidies is still pending in court.

  • Badgerite

    Oh Dear God. The Mooch is out. Ten whole days.
    Moochie. We hardly knew ye. Which is actually good.

  • Badgerite

    Yeah. I saw those people that the ACA is “hurting”. They showed up at Congressional offices during the last vote. Funny thing is….they were FOR the ACA and very, very tremendously bigly against trumpcare. A lot of them in wheel chairs.
    Handcuffed, no less. The ‘thugs’. There are so many people who have come out and stated in public they are alive only because of the ACA. I still think of the young man from Milwaukee who publicly apologized to Obama because he had opposed the bill but who was subsequently diagnosed with an illness that would have killed him but for the Affordable Care Act. If Christianity teaches us anything, it is that we are the ‘keepers’ of each other. It is enlightened self interest. We call that a Christian society. We call that an American society.

  • muselet

    “I think his attitude is this, and his attitude is pretty simple,” Mulvaney said. “What he’s saying is, look, if Obamacare is hurting people — and it is — then why shouldn’t it hurt insurance companies and more importantly perhaps for this discussion, members of Congress?”

    Assuming for the sake of argument that the ACA is “hurting people”—it’s not, at least not statistically (there may very well be some unfortunate individuals whose personal circumstances have conspired to make the ACA an unalloyed negative for them)—the proper course of action would be to change those parts of the law that are causing problems. The exact wrong course of action is deliberately to cause injury to other parties, which is what Mick Mulvaney says Donald Trump wants to do.

    Is the White House Even Dumber Than We Thought?

    The short answer is yes.

    –alopecia

    • ninjaf

      There you go using reason and logic to find a solution, instead of your mean-spirited, vindictive Id, as our current President prefers.

      • Nefercat

        So true. Of course, trump isn’t even trying to find a solution. He never does. He is just lashing out at someone, anyone, because once again, he got his big flabby ass handed to him and someone must pay.

        Has he ever actually tried to solve a problem? It seems as though every issue he is faced with somehow becomes all about him and any action taken is chosen solely to make him look/feel good. The effects on anything/anyone else seem to be completely irrelevant.

        • Christopher Foxx

          Has he ever actually tried to solve a problem?

          Nope.

    • Christopher Foxx

      the proper course of action would be to change those parts of the law that are causing problems

      You mean, if you buy a house and there’s some things that need fixing (the floorboards creak over there, the screen door needs a patch, that windows sticks, the faucet won’t stop dripping) you should fix those things?

      ‘Cause according to the Republicans the right way to deal with it is to burn the whole house down and then maybe (maybe) think about drawing up blueprints for a new one.