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Trump’s view overly downbeat on health law

March 10
07:00 2017

President Donald Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., gestures on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, before his address to a joint session of Congress. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Image via AP)

WASHINGTON: A claim by President Donald Trump from his speech to Congress and how it stacks up with the facts:

 

Trump, in prepared remarks, said: “Obamacare is collapsing … so I am calling on all Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work with us to save Americans from this imploding Obamacare disaster.”

 

The Facts: There are problems with the 2010 health care law, but whether it’s collapsing is hotly disputed.

 

One of the two major components of the Affordable Care Act has seen a spike in premiums and a drop in participation from insurers. But the other component, equally important, seems to be working fairly well, even if its costs are a concern.

 

Trump and congressional Republicans want to repeal the whole thing, which risks leaving millions of people uninsured if the replacement plan has shortcomings. Some critics say GOP rhetoric itself is making things worse by creating uncertainty about the future.

 

The health law offers subsidized private health insurance along with a state option to expand Medicaid for low-income people. Together, the two arms of the program cover more than 20 million people.

 

Republican governors whose states have expanded Medicaid are trying to find a way to persuade Congress and the administration to keep the expansion, and maybe even build on it, while imposing limits on the long-term costs of Medicaid.

 

While the Medicaid expansion seems to be working, the markets for subsidized private health insurance are stressed in many states. Also affected are millions of people who buy individual policies outside the government markets, and face the same high premiums with no financial help from the health law.

 

Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation says “implosion” is too strong a term. An AP count found that 12.2 million people signed up for this year, despite the Trump administration’s threats to repeal the law. -AP

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