Most health insurers, and their main trade group AHIP, have been super cautious so far, doing whatever they can to avoid fights with the White House. But if Trump follows through on his hot rhetoric — he described the payments to insurers as “ransom money” — they’ll be forced to defend themselves. And it could get ugly.
- While some administration officials (cough, Steve Bannon) believe it’s smart politics, as a rule, for Trump to stick it to Big Business, others are nervous about what the insurers might do to retaliate. Kellyanne Conway said on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump will decide this week whether to cut off the payments.
- For example: as soon as next month, insurers could easily raise their rates again for next year and blame it on Trump’s threat to take away the subsidies. (That would hit a lot of Trump voters in red states.)
- Trump argues the ACA is already imploding, so the administration might as well let it happen rather than prop up a failing system. But Price is more cautious, and the administration as a whole hasn’t decided what to do about the ACA markets.
What’s next: Now that the left has defeated the Republicans on repeal-and-replace, the progressive resistance is channeling its energies into protesting any Trump administration actions to “sabotage” the ACA.
- Progressive activist Jesse Ferguson, a Hillary alum, emails me: “It’s expected that the side who loses a legislative fight is the one who mobilizes in response. What’s remarkable is that the reverse is happening. In the 48 hours since progressives won the repeal vote, there were more than 170 rallies and events all over the country to fight back against repeal and sabotage.”
- Watch for a five week long, 18-state bus tour — funded by groups like Planned Parenthood and AFSCME — to hammer vulnerable Republicans who voted to repeal-and-replace the ACA.