EDITORIAL: Brazen Trump administration wrong to take credit for good news on Obamacare

York Dispatch Editorial Board
  • A key Obamacare health plan will see its premiums edge downward next year in most states.
  • The number of marketplace insurers under Obamacare will grow for the first time since 2015.
  • The Trump administration is claiming credit for the good news on Obamacare.
FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2018, file photo, Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in New York. Azar said premiums for a popular type of health plan under the Affordable Care Act will edge downward next year. Speaking in Nashville on Thursday, Sept. 26, Azar said premiums for a popular type of “silver” plan will drop by 2 percent in the 39 states served by the federal HealthCare.gov website. The number of marketplace insurers will grow for the first time since 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

“Brazen” is defined as the ability to “endure an embarrassing or difficult situation by behaving with apparent confidence and lack of shame.”

The Trump administration is nothing if not “brazen.”

The president and his subordinates have repeatedly proven that they have no shame.

The latest example came last week when it was announced that premiums for a popular type of “silver” health plan under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, will edge downward next year in most states.

In addition, the number of marketplace insurers will grow for the first time since 2015.

Trump a longtime foe of Obamacare: During the 2016 presidential campaign, one of Donald Trump’s most-hyped promises was his vow to “repeal and replace” the hated Obamacare law.

Since getting into office, the president has done everything in his power to gut and undermine Obamacare.

So, when some good news emerged about the long-term viability of Obamacare, you would think that might be more than a little embarrassing for a Trump administration that has had nothing but disdain for the program.

You would be wrong.

Taking credit: In fact, the Trump administration couldn’t contain itself and quickly claimed credit for the turnabout.

Trump health chief: Premiums to drop for popular ACA plan

“The president who was supposedly trying to sabotage the Affordable Care Act has proven better at managing it than the president who wrote the law,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar bragged last week.

Azar cited regulatory actions to improve the inner workings of the ACA marketplaces and increase consumer choice among insurance plans that don’t comply with health law rules.

Laughable claim: Azar’s claim is simply laughable and was quickly, and rightfully, disputed.

In fact, Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation said premiums for 2019 likely would have gone down even more but for administration actions last year that roiled the markets.

That included Trump’s abrupt cancellation of a major stream of payments to insurers — which triggered sharp 2018 premium increases. Also, Trump and congressional Republicans spent much of last year in a fruitless quest to repeal Obamacare, with the president repeatedly pronouncing it “dead.”

Well, now that Obamacare appears to be alive and well, Trump and his allies can’t wait to take credit for it.

Can't have it both ways: Well, Mr. President, you can’t have it both ways.

Trump administration takes another swipe at ‘Obamacare’

You claim Obamacare is terrible legislation. If that is the case, you can’t take credit for the law when it works — despite you best efforts to destroy it. Many conservatives predicted that when the repeal efforts in Congress failed, that Obamacare would simply collapse under its own weight.

That is not happening.

Not a perfect law: Look, Obamacare is not a perfect law. Even the vast majority of Democrats are likely to admit that. It needs some significant reforms.

It is, however, a positive step toward fixing a health care crisis in this nation that left millions without insurance.

That was proven last week when the good news emerged about rates dropping and insurance options growing.

Just plain brazen: The Trump administration simply couldn’t help itself in taking credit for that revelation. Azar practically separated his shoulder trying to pat himself — and the president — on the back.

That, my friends, is simply “brazen.”

It’s also flat-out wrong.