Earlier this year, we heard one of the hosts of a popular political podcast start using a new qualifier: “in Trump-adjusted terms.” She mostly used it to describe how she was feeling on a given day– “I’m fine (in Trump-adjusted terms)”– but it works in all sorts of situations. A boring week (in Trump-adjusted terms) would be one where the President of the United States doesn’t edge us closer to nuclear war with an unstable dictator on Twitter. A successful meeting (in Trump-adjusted terms) is one in which he doesn’t accidentally reveal classified intelligence to a foreign adversary or ask racist questions about immigration.
It’s also a good way to think about the state of American healthcare in 2017. For those of us who believe that everyone in this country should have access to affordable healthcare, the raw numbers are disappointing:
- The uninsured rate had hit a record low of 10.9% at the end of 2016; by the fall of 2017 it had crept back up to 12.3%. That represents 3.2 million Americans becoming uninsured.
Enrollment in the Obamacare marketplaces was expected to increase slightly in 2017; yet, at least on the federal marketplace that serves 39 states, 400,000 fewer people signed up for 2018 coverage.
- Thanks largely to the Trump administration’s decision to stop paying cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies and uncertainty about whether the individual mandate would be enforced, average premiums increased by about 30% this year.
- The GOP managed to repeal the individual mandate as part of its tax plan, which could increase premiums even more in 2019.
Still though, if you had told us that a year into the Trump administration the vast majority of the ACA would still be standing and covering almost as many people as it had in 2016, we would have been relieved. In other words, 2017 was a pretty good year for the ACA… in Trump-adjusted terms. Here are three reasons why. [click to continue…]