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SBAM reacts to President Trump’s executive order on health care

October 13, 2017

By Scott Lyon, Senior Vice President

President Trump has made a couple of big statements on health care in the last few days.  First, an Executive Order was signed that opens the door to Association Health Plans and, through that vehicle the ability for health insurers to sell coverage across state lines; and then his decision to end the payments to insurers that subsidized the premiums for many lower income customers.

His decisions recognize that the cost of health care and therefore health insurance premiums remain a top concern.  Here at SBAM, we also recognize that health care costs continue to be one of the biggest problems facing small-business owners. The Administration focus on making health insurance more affordable is exactly the right one – but new rules around Association Health Plans and selling across state lines must be very carefully crafted to avoid actually increasing premiums for millions of workers. If healthier individuals are siphoned off into lower-cost, benefit-light plans, that leaves older, sicker people in unsustainable, costly insurance pools.  The challenge is that the costs in the system have not changed; new efforts at reform are like squeezing the air in a balloon – the air is simply shifted from one end to another.

In our conversations with elected officials in Washington, D.C. we have always encouraged meaningful reform on the most relevant issues responsible for sky-rocketing health care costs:

  • rewarding procedures instead of outcomes
  • the near complete lack of information regarding the quality and price of care being delivered
  • hidden pricing structures, especially within the pharmaceutical industry 
  • electronic records that fail to properly transport and communicate for the patient
  • defensive medicine.

For many years SBAM has worked with Federal and State officials calling for meaningful health care reform and our work is far from over.  We are looking for efforts that will actually move the dial on what health care costs: universal access, promotion of individual responsibility, improvement in the quality of care and elimination of wasteful care. 

We recognize that the Affordable Care Act has increased access to care, but it has also has fallen far short in making health care more affordable.  Unfortunately, there is a danger that new insurance rules will simply rearrange the list of ‘winners and losers’ without making any real progress on our fundamental health care challenges.

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