New health care executive order is a step in the wrong direction

UNITED STATES PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP's picture
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Today, President Trump signed a new Executive Order that aims to loosen up rules for health insurance plans for individuals, families and small businesses. Though the administration touts the potential for lower-cost health insurance under looser rules, this action will not help American consumers. In fact, it is likely to make matters worse by destabilizing the markets Americans rely on for health coverage. American consumers need real action on health care costs, but this simply will not cut it.

Most importantly, this Executive Order will not do anything about the most serious underlying problem in the American health care system, which is that health care is simply too expensive and is failing to provide an acceptable value proposition for consumers. It is easy to make health insurance cheaper by offering worse insurance, less insurance, or insurance that will not be there when you most need it. But what consumers really need is action to improve the value proposition of health care so that real, high-quality insurance is available at a more reasonable cost.

If the President and Congress want to get serious about improving the value proposition of health care in this country, there are countless measures policymakers could take that would make a big difference, such as addressing the rising cost of prescription drugs and taking action to hold the health care industry more accountable to consumers. Real progress may be difficult due to opposition from powerful health care industry interests, but it’s really not that hard to see what needs to be done.

Unfortunately, this Executive Order simply does not deliver what American consumers need. Congress and the states should take action to protect consumers and small businesses from the harms this action may cause. But even more importantly, we urge policymakers to advance real health reforms that will finally address the serious underlying problems in the American health care system.

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