Health Care

Ryan, Brown, Johnson React to Trump’s ACA Orders

WASHINGTON –  Democrats Tim Ryan and Sherrod Brown are sharply criticizing President Donald Trump’s executive orders on health care, which they say will mean increased premiums for Americans and cut access to benefits, while Republican Bill Johnson says the actions taken by the president will benefit millions of Americans.

The first of two orders, signed by Trump Thursday morning, calls for improving and expanding access to association health plans, health-reimbursement arrangements and short-term, limited duration insurance. The second order, signed last night, halts cost-share reductions that amount to $7 billion in annual subsidies to health insurance providers that benefit 7 million low-income Americans.

“Insurance companies will be fighting to get every single person signed up, and you will be hopefully negotiating, negotiating, negotiating, and you’ll get such low prices for such great care,” Trump said when signing the first executive order.

Added Michael Glassner, executive director of Donald J. Trump for President Inc., “With this announcement today, the president is making a down payment on the Republican party’s pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare, and demonstrating the necessary leadership to give Americans relief from skyrocketing health insurance costs until Congress can get its job done.”

But in a statement issued by his office this morning, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, cited the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that ending these payments would increase health insurance premiums by 20% or more.

“This is a shameful act of sabotage,” Ryan said. “Let’s be perfectly clear — from this moment on, President Trump is now personally responsible for increases in the cost of health insurance or loss of coverage. The callousness of his decision to attach the insurance market for petty political reasons is unrivaled in recent memory. These people aren’t just statistics on paper. These are mothers, fathers and children trying to get the care they need to live happy, healthy lives.”

Ryan described Trump’s executive orders as “a pathetic show of petulance from a president who is frustrated with his own legislative impotence. And now, all of America is paying the cost of President Trump’s own personal insecurities.”

Brown, D-Ohio, said Trump’s orders would limit access to benefits such as substance abuse treatment, maternity services, and emergency care. It also would expand the length of time that individuals can keep short-term health insurance plans, causing additional uncertainty and unpredictability in the market

“Instead of employing backdoor tactics meant to undermine important health-care protections, President Trump should come to the table with members of both parties to pursue meaningful health-care reform that benefits Ohioans,” Brown said.

Johnson, R-6 Ohio, today defended Trump’s decision to remove the cost-sharing subsidies, arguing that they were “never on solid legal ground” because Congress did not appropriate the funds. Health care law is “unsustainable in its current form,” he added.

“Perhaps today’s announcement to reverse the unappropriated Obamacare subsidies will spur the Senate to follow the lead of the House and pass meaningful legislation to benefit the American people,” he continued. “It’s time for Republicans and Democrats to work together to repeal Obamacare, and replace it with affordable, high-quality, patient-centered health-care solutions.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.