Expert: Executive order could disproportionately affect Louisianans

Trump's new executive order on health care
Updated: Oct. 12, 2017 at 9:44 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(WVUE) - President Trump's latest executive order is aimed at undoing key parts of the Affordable Care Act. The White House calls it a way to give Americans more choice and greater access to lower-priced plans. Yet, experts say not everyone will benefit.

"This is something millions and millions will be signing up for and they're going to be very happy. This will be great healthcare," said President Trump just before he signed the executive order.

It comes after multiple failed attempts from Congress to pass a healthcare reform bill. The executive order allows people to purchase insurance across state lines and aims to expand access to small business plans, for example. Plus, it looks to ease restrictions on some short-term policies.

"The president's trying to improve the ability of a family to cover themselves. That's a good thing," said Republican Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy (R).

Lawmakers like Cassidy are hailing the executive order as a victory.

"Folks are paying $40,000 a year for health insurance. You cannot afford that if you're a middle-class family," Cassidy said.

Yet, some experts say the order has less to do with class and everything to do with the sick versus the healthy.

"Is that something that's particularly good for Americans, having a two-track, healthcare system? One that's low cost for healthy people but that's high cost for sick folk?" said Economic Policy Specialist Ali Bustamante.

Bustamante is with Loyola's Jesuit Social Research Institute. He says the executive order creates a dual market. On one hand are the sick who need more comprehensive coverage; on the other are the healthy individuals who can get away with a low-cost, low-coverage plan.

Bustamante says the order will, in turn, mean insurance providers demand high premiums from the sick, since companies base premiums on their risk pool. Because Louisiana leads the nation in obesity, he says it will affect residents here even more.

"It means that we, the Louisiana population, which is a predominately sick population, is going to ultimately experience higher premiums under this executive order than would otherwise be if the Affordable Care Act were left untouched," Bustamante said.

Under the Affordable Care Act, there was one market for the healthy and the sick. Healthy people had to have comprehensive coverage, thus, paying higher premiums to subsidize the sick.

The executive order is not set to go into effect for another four months, but experts say we could begin to see a premiums rise within the next several weeks.

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.