Azar Touts Trump’s ‘Decisive Action’ On Health Law, But Experts Say It’s States’ Work That’s Stabilizing Marketplace
The marketplace is getting stronger and next year's premiums are not expected to be as shockingly high as previous years. While HHS Secretary Alex Azar credits that success to President Donald Trump's policies, other experts say that it's because states' insurance departments have been working to blunt the attacks to the law. Meanwhile, Azar took a swing at Democrats' "Medicare for All" plan, saying it's too good to be true.
Azar Credits Trump For Lower Premiums, Lambastes 'Medicare For All'
HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Thursday praised President Donald Trump for taking "decisive action" to stabilize the individual insurance market and lower health insurance exchange premiums for American consumers. Health insurers have proposed to reduce benchmark exchange premiums by 2% in 2019 following years of increasing rates, Azar said, providing evidence that the Trump administration's moves to gives states flexibility to prop up their insurance markets and expand the types of health plans allowed have been successful. (Livingston, 9/27)
The Associated Press:
Trump Health Chief: Premiums To Drop For Popular ACA Plan
Speaking in Nashville on Thursday, Azar said premiums for a popular type of “silver” plan will drop by 2 percent in the 39 states served by the federal HealthCare.gov website. The number of marketplace insurers will grow for the first time since 2015. Azar’s comments track with a broader independent analysis earlier this month. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/27)
Trump ‘Better’ At Managing Obamacare Than Obama, Says Health Secretary
"It turns out, when you have a president who’s willing to take decisive action, who understands business, who’s willing to work with the private sector, you can find a way to help American patients, even within a failed system like the ACA," Azar said. “The president who is supposedly trying to sabotage the Affordable Care Act has proven better at managing it than the president who wrote the law.” (Kelman, 9/27)
HHS Chief Dismisses 'Medicare For All' As 'Too Good To Be True'
The Trump administration’s top health official on Thursday dismissed “Medicare for all” as a promise that’s too good to be true. “When you drill down into the details, it’s clear that Medicare for all is a misnomer. What’s really being proposed is a single government system for every American that won’t resemble Medicare at all,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said during a wide-ranging speech in Nashville, Tenn. (Weixel, 9/27)
And in other health law news —
Association Health Plans Spark Tussle Between State Regulators, Business Groups
Some business associations and insurers are plunging ahead in launching a cheaper type of health plan newly permitted by the Trump administration, while others are holding back due to big regulatory and legal uncertainties about the future of these products. Since the U.S. Labor Department issued a final rule in June allowing small employers and self-employers to band together across state lines and form association health plans, or AHPs, there have been intensive discussions between business groups, state insurance commissioners and Labor Department officials about how states can regulate these plans. (Meyer, 9/27)
Small Business Owners Say Health Care Costs Is Biggest Issue They Face: Survey
Small Business Owners say that the most important issue affecting them is the cost of health care, according to the National Small Business Association’s annual Politics of Small Business Survey. When asked what issues they raised most with elected officials, 40 percent of the surveyed owners said health care costs. Local issues were second on the list at 28 percent and tax reform came third with 37 percent. (Elis, 9/26)