Older, sicker Americans will foot the bill for Trump’s healthcare orders

That makes Trump’s orders a regulatory means of achieving what Obamacare did in 2010: redistributing income from one group of Americans to another.

As American politics has become increasingly polarized, redistribution has become a dirty word. It delights those gaining benefits but enrages those who pay for them.

To avoiding inflaming political opponents, the Obama White House shunned the word. But redistribution is precisely what Obamacare did.

It taxed wealthy people to finance health coverage for the poor. That occurred largely through expansion of Medicaid coverage to 14 million Americans.

In the “individual market,” where the small minority of Americans without government or employer coverage buy their insurance, Obamacare redistributed income through regulations and subsidies. They shifted health costs from women to men, from the old to the young, from the sick to the healthy, from the working-class to the affluent.

It was the distinctive losers from those shifts – perhaps 5 million people, disproportionately young, male, healthy, and middle-to-high income – whose complaints about premium increases have fueled the seven-year GOP war on Obamacare.

Trump and his party have tried to redistribute those costs in reverse through repeal of Obamacare. Resistance from the larger group of winners under Obamacare – more than 20 million gained coverage – helped block that effort in Congress.

But just as Barack Obama used his executive authority to act when thwarted by political opponents, Trump did so Thursday. The orders he signed aim to allow groups of businesses to offer cheaper “association health plans” providing fewer benefits, and expand the number of people permitted to buy “short-term” plans of the same type.

That will please some Americans who have felt stuck with the bills of Obamacare. It will cost some who have benefited, including those with expensive medical conditions previously unable to buy affordable coverage or buy any coverage at all.

That’s redistribution, too – Trump-style.

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Older, sicker Americans will foot the bill for Trump’s healthcare orders

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