National Consumers League

NCL condemns Trump Executive Order undermining Affordable Care Act

October 13, 2017

Contact: NCL Communications, Cindy Hoang, (202) 207-2832, cindyh@nclnet.org

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL) condemns the Executive Order issued Thursday by President Trump that would undermine the Affordable Care Act, weaken or eliminate critical consumer protections, make it difficult for those with pre-existing conditions to afford health coverage, and destabilize the individual insurance market.

The Trump Administration’s Executive Order would allow Association Health Plans to offer coverage across state lines that would not be subject to state insurance regulations or the ACA’s requirement to cover the Essential Health Benefits, such as hospitalization; prescription drugs; pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services; preventive and wellness services; and other critical health services.

The availability of Association Health Plans would bifurcate the market, with healthy people buying skimpier, non-ACA compliant policies and sicker people seeking to buy more expensive, comprehensive plans. By thrusting people with pre-existing conditions into a separate risk pool, the Executive Order would result in a death spiral and a return to the pre-ACA days in which those with pre-existing conditions were unable to get affordable coverage on the individual market.

Ignoring the pleas of millions of consumers to protect their care, President Trump’s Executive Order is the latest in a long line of Trump Administration actions to undermine the Affordable Care Act -- starting with Congress’ multiple unsuccessful attempts to repeal the law, the President’s refusal to guarantee payment of the Cost-Sharing Reduction subsidies that allow people to afford health coverage, and the sabotage of Open Enrollment by cutting the enrollment period in half, slashing federal support for advertising and navigators, and completely shutting down HealthCare.gov for 12 hours every Sunday throughout Open Enrollment.

“President Trump’s actions are inexcusable,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director. “Rather than promoting Association Health Plans, the Trump Administration should allow Congress to continue the bipartisan process started by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to strengthen the ACA and stabilize the health insurance marketplace so that all consumers can have access to quality, affordable healthcare.”

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.