Hickenlooper, Bennet knock Trump executive order to begin dismantling parts of Obamacare
Author: Ernest Luning - October 12, 2017 - Updated: October 14, 2017
Warning it will lead to less coverage and higher health care costs, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet panned the executive order signed Thursday by President Donald Trump aimed at scaling back provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Both Democrats called on the Trump administration and Congress to adopt a bipartisan approach to resolving access and affordability problems in health care.
Frustrated at the inability of Congress to pass legislation overhauling the nation’s health care system, Trump directed his administration to rewrite some federal insurance rules, a step in efforts to undermine Obamacare, the program he’s promised to kill.
“With these actions, we are moving toward lower costs and more options in the health care market,” Trump said before signing his directive in the Oval Office. Trump said he will continue to pressure Congress to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation.
Hickenlooper said Trump’s plan “sabotages” health insurance coverage standards and will result in higher premiums.
“The White House’s action today threatens to make health insurance more expensive and less stable,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “It sabotages the protections many Coloradans rely upon and makes it easier for insurance companies to deny Coloradans the care they need. This order will destabilize health insurance for small businesses, ultimately resulting in higher premiums. We urge the administration and Congress to end partisan efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and work across the aisle, and with governors, to find real solutions so that families and small businesses have access to affordable quality health care.”
Hickenlooper has led a bipartisan charge urging the administration and Republican congressional leaders to look to governors and across the aisle for ideas to fix the health care system.
One of the central ideas in the administration’s plan unveiled Thursday would make it easier for groups and associations of employers to sponsor coverage that can be marketed across state lines — reflecting Trump’s belief that interstate competition will lead to lower premiums. Critics say the “association health plans” can avoid some state and federal insurance requirements, but the White House said employers won’t be able to exclude any workers from the plans or charge more for those in poor health.
Bennet, a member of the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee, leveled similar criticism at Trump’s order and pointed to ongoing work he’s involved with in the committee.
“I have long said we must reform our health care system to make it more competitive, affordable, and transparent,” Bennet said in a statement.“Although the president claims his executive order will increase competition and lower costs, it will weaken consumer protections, resulting in skimpier plans and higher health care bills for people with preexisting conditions. This is not a tradeoff the president should be willing to make. Instead, he should look to the Senate HELP Committee where we are drafting bipartisan legislation that will stabilize the individual market and address long-term fixes for our health care system.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.