The latest from our president:
The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2017
Translation: I will continue to rip insurance coverage from the poor and sick until you cave in to my demands.
As it happens, stopping CSR payments to insurance companies might not do the damage Trump thinks it will. And his action yesterday, which encourages the creation of association plans that suck all the young and healthy customers out of Obamacare, might also be less damaging than he’d like. On a technical level, it turns out that Trump’s executive order doesn’t allow association plans to market to individuals, which reduces its scope. On a political level, it will take months for agencies to create rules and hold hearings to implement the EO, and possibly many more months in court.
That’s semi-heartening, but there’s a whole different problem looming: the more Trump screws around with Obamacare rules, the more likely it is that insurance companies quit the exchanges. Making a profit is hard enough already, and participating in Obamacare has always been a long-term play for insurers. If it becomes clear that Congress and the president are hellbent on making things worse, they’ll just give up. That could wreck Obamacare even if the legislation and the executive orders don’t technically cause a lot of short-term damage.