White House report: Administration not sabotaging ObamaCare

A new report from the White House argues that the Trump administration’s changes to ObamaCare have been beneficial to the health care marketplace, pushing back on claims of sabotage from Democrats.

The report released Friday by the White House Council of Economic Advisors argues that GOP actions — including the elimination of the law’s individual mandate — do not “sabotage” the law.  

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The report comes as Democrats have taken control of the House with a promise to investigate the administration’s rhetoric and actions and to pass legislation protecting the law.

The administration has slashed advertising and outreach for the law, reduced the sign-up period and has promoted a series of policies that advocates say could siphon healthy people off the exchanges.

The report examined three of those policies: the repeal of the individual mandate requiring everyone must have health insurance or pay a fine; association health plans for small businesses that can be sold across state lines; and low-cost short-term plans that don’t have to meet ObamaCare coverage requirements.

The White House report says the law’s subsidies that help low- and middle-income customers pay their premiums will help keep the exchanges stable, even when healthy people drop their ObamaCare coverage for cheaper plans that don’t have to cover as much.

During a call with reporters, administration officials also emphasized that the individual mandate was not necessary for the law to function. Officials noted that eliminating the penalty did not result in any substantial decrease in enrollment.

That position undercuts the administration’s argument in a lawsuit that could overturn the entire law. The Justice Department declined to protect ObamaCare’s protections for people with preexisting conditions.

A federal judge in Texas agreed with GOP plaintiffs that the entire law was unconstitutional, because the mandate penalty was essential.

The case is currently being appealed.