Since the start of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the expansion of Medicaid through the HIP 2.0 program, over half a million Hoosiers have gained access to affordable, comprehensive health care coverage. This lowered Indiana’s uninsured rate to just eight percent.
Unfortunately, President Trump and his administration have put it all at risk by gutting access to the ability to apply and by signing the latest executive order to intentionally destabilize the health insurance marketplace.
Because the President and his administration have failed in their numerous repeal and replace efforts, Trump is using his executive order pen to further his efforts to intentionally destabilize the ACA. While his order is not a change in the law, it sends a clear message to health care marketplace insurers that they will be able to offer health plans that are exempt from the many standards of the Affordable Care Act. They will now be able to offer plans that do not cover essential health benefits like maternity leave, and it gives them the ability to charge people higher premiums based on their health status or pre-existing condition. In fact, a number of health organizations and stakeholders have stated the order is ‘unworkable in any form’, and they’re right.
Furthermore, Indiana will receive an 82 percent cut to our program that helps people apply for insurance. This is the largest percentage cut of any state and is twice as much as the average state sees in funding cuts. Why have President Trump and Vice President Pence singled out Indiana to be the biggest loser? The Trump administration has also reduced the enrollment period from three months to just six weeks, leaving less time for people to apply for affordable health coverage. This is a political ploy to deliberately sabotage the health insurance marketplaces and take insurance away from Americans.
When it comes down to it, these actions will have real consequences for Americans. It will hurt new mothers, families with loved ones who have pre-existing conditions, and – due to a destabilized market – increase premiums for Hoosiers getting health insurance through the marketplace.
President Trump, Vice President Pence, and their administration are playing politics with our health care system and they are doing it in an irresponsible way, simply because they failed to repeal and replace the ACA. The basic right of affordable health care coverage is now the sole responsibility of the Trump administration. His failure to encourage a bipartisan effort to make the ACA stronger has turned the conversation into how much Trumpcare will damage the marketplace, the country, and Indiana. We will be watching, and the Indiana Senate Democrats will advocate for responsible solutions to make the health care system stronger, more affordable and more accessible to Hoosier families.
I encourage Hoosiers to contact their federally elected officials to urge them to stand against these proposals, and to encourage them to work together to protect our basic health care rights established by the ACA. Because if we simply allow President Trump to chip away at the law, we will go back to the time when millions of Americans didn’t have access to health insurance.