President Donald Trump has a great new plan to save Henry Kissinger — and everybody else — from “failed Obamacare.”
Trump on Tuesday said he will “be signing something, probably this week, which is going to go a long way to take care of many of the people that have been so badly hurt on health care.”
“Now, we’re going to have to do something with Obamacare because It’s failing,” Trump said.
“Henry Kissinger does not want to pay a 116 percent increase in his premiums,” Trump said in the Oval Office while seated next to the former secretary of State.
“But that’s what’s happening, and it actually getting worse. It’s getting worse by the minute,” Trump said, after tapping a grinning Kissinger on the arm.
Kissinger, at age 94, has been eligible for health coverage from the federally operated, single-payer system Medicare for three decade. He therefore does not have to buy an Obamacare plan, much less ones that have seen a 116 percent price hike.
Trump has frequently cited the 116 percent figure, which refers to the average increase for Obamamcare plans sold in Arizona this year.
Publicly available rate requests for other states so far show that the highest hike sought is about half of 116 percent — the 57.5 percent increase sought by Blue Cross Blue Shield in Georgia.
And that insurer’s big rate rise is largely due to Trump himself, according to a report last week.
The Protect Our Care Campaign, a leading Obamacare advocacy group, in its report noted that in the 28 states whose approved rates have been made public, 20, including Georgia attribute their rate increases in part to the Trump administration threatening not to pay insurers billions of dollars in reimbursements owed them under the Affordable Care Act.
Most people who buy Obamacare plans on government-run marketplaces qualify for subsidies in the form of tax credits that largely, or completely insulate them from the effect of premium increases. However, millions of non-subsidized customers feel the full brunt of such hikes.
Trump has been stung in the past several months by the inability of Republican leaders in Congress to send him a bill to sign that would repeal and replace major parts of the ACA.
Earlier Tuesday, he criticized Congress for that as he previewed his expected executive order on health care.
During his Oval Office appearance with Kissinger, Trump said that after he issues that order, people who have been “so badly hurt” by Obamacare will “be able to buy, and they’ll be able to cross state lines, and they will get great competitive health care, and it will cost the United States nothing.”
“With Congress the way it is, I decided to take it upon myself,” Trump said.
“We’ll be announcing that soon … but it’s largely worked out. It’s very simple in one way, but very intricate in another.”
“But It will be great health care for many, many people, a big percentage of the number of people that we’re talking about for failed Obamacare,” the president said.
But Larry Levitt, a leading Obamacare expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, on Tuesday said that if Trump’s executive order includes, as reported, a loosening of restrictions on short-term health insurance, it could lead to a “collapse” of the Obamacare markets.