Frankel: Trump health care sabotage means higher premiums, less coverage

Trump's actions will raise consumers' costs, allow junk plans that don't cover essential benefits like maternity care

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 13 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, today said President Trump's latest actions to undermine the Affordable Care Act's protections are sabotage.

"President Trump is responsible for the mess he is creating. It's the Pottery Barn rule: 'you break it, you own it,'" Frankel said.

"The president's actions at the end of this week are a one-two punch aimed at dismantling health care access for millions. First, he signed an order allowing for plans that don’t provide essential health benefits and now we know that he will withhold crucial cost-sharing payments, which is likely to throw the health care marketplace into turmoil.

"The requirement for essential health benefits matters because Pennsylvanians have been confident that if they buy health insurance, it will allow them to access the care they need, including maternity care, mental health services and emergency room coverage.

"Most importantly, the requirement ensured that children can go to the dentist and the eye doctor, to make sure that any problems get caught early so they can grow and thrive. These types of basic care are essential to health coverage.

"Now, the Trump administration is destroying that promise by allowing junk plans to count as 'insurance' again. So we'll go back to the bad old days of people often not finding out about holes in their coverage until it's too late.

"On top of that, late Thursday the Trump White House announced an end to the cost-sharing reduction payments that help to keep health insurance affordable for about 206,000 people in Pennsylvania alone.

"Already today we're starting to see some Republicans joining Democrats in calling on the president to go back to making the cost-sharing payments, as he had done earlier this year. Democrats and some Republicans recognize what he's done will drive up people's costs and drive insurers out of the market. This mess was preventable and the lose-lose scenario that's now playing out will be entirely President Trump's fault.

"Bipartisan members of the U.S. Senate – particularly Senators Alexander and Murray -- have been negotiating possible fixes to the Affordable Care Act, because everyone agrees there are flaws. The president should get out of the way and stop sabotaging people's health care."