Tweet First, Read Later: Trump Shares Article Blaming His Policies for Health Care Price Increases

Aaron Rupar

Aaron Rupar Reporter, ThinkProgress

On Thursday morning, President Trump retweeted a tweet from his favorite morning show about how “Insurers [are] seeking huge premium hikes on ObamaCare plans.” Had Trump read the article, however, he would’ve seen that the story Fox & Friends highlighted on its program actually blamed him for those rate hikes.

 

The tweet Trump retweeted links to a foxnews.com story that’s primarily an aggregation of a Wall Street Journal report about rising Obamacare premiums. But the story, published Tuesday, makes clear that the Trump administration’s attempts to sabotage Obamacare are the primary culprit.

The Trump administration continues to be noncommittal about whether the federal government will continue to pay the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments for low-income people who purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. According to the Journal, uncertainty surrounding the CSR payments and whether the Trump administration will enforce Obamacare’s individual mandate are the primary drivers of higher premiums on the exchanges.

“In Montana, Health Care Service linked 17 percentage points of its 23% rate increase request to concerns about the cost-sharing payments and enforcement of the mandate that requires everyone to purchase insurance,” the Journal reports. “Kurt Kossen, a senior vice president at Health Care Service, said the company’s rate requests are driven by causes including growing health costs and ‘uncertainty and the associated risks that exist within this marketplace, including uncertainty around issues like the continued funding of [cost-sharing payments] and mechanisms that encourage broad and continuous coverage.'”

Michael Neidorff, chief executive of Centene Corp., told the Journal that within the exchanges, “there is relative stability.”

“The uncertainty is driven by these policies on the ACA,” he added.

Blue Cross of Idaho told the Journal that if the Trump administration just committed to making the CSR payments, premium increases would be in the low teens—about half of the 28 percent increase they’re requesting.

The Fox News story Trump retweeted quotes White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as saying, “A lot of us have lost focus on the fact that the system we have doesn’t work.” That comment echoes the sort of rhetoric Trump has used about Obamacare.

But Obamacare isn’t crashing or burning. In March, the Congressional Budget Office concluded that Obamacare exchanges are likely to “be stable in most areas.”

“The subsidies to purchase coverage combined with the penalties paid by uninsured people stemming from the individual mandate are anticipated to cause sufficient demand for insurance by people with low health care expenditures for the market to be stable,” the CBO wrote, debunking notions that Obamacare is in a “death spiral.”

This isn’t the first time Trump has referred his Twitter followers to a story, seemingly unaware that the piece in question makes him look bad. In February, Trump cited a Lawfare article in an attempt to build a case that the three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit made a bad decision when they declined to reinstate his Muslim ban.

But had Trump read the article, he would’ve seen that the author — Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution — concluded that the court actually made the right decision.

“The Ninth Circuit is correct to leave the [restraining order] in place, in my view, for the simple reason that there is no cause to plunge the country into turmoil again while the courts address the merits of these matters over the next few weeks,” Wittes writes, before concluding his piece by blasting the Trump administration’s “incompetent malevolence.”

Instead of coming across the passage he tweeted out from reading the article, it appears Trump was alerted to the Lawfare piece by watching cable news.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work