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If you have been reading this column from the beginning, you know how I feel about 2017. This has been the economic year I have waited for since 2008. I’ve seen the markets grow and my own investments start to actually pay off.
It’s like everything I was promised in college is finally paying off; you know, 10 years later. In my opinion, a vast majority of it has to do with Trump’s attitude toward economics. That laissez-faire attitude has taken root and we finally can see the fruits of our labors.
However, it’s ridiculous to believe that everything President Trump touches turns, like his hair, to gold. In the new tax bill I found a curious effect: The repeal of the individual mandate for health insurance. I say curious because so much of the law is aimed at changing the tax code to promote growth.
This part of the bill, seemingly, has very little to do with taxes. Unless of course you remember that the Supreme Court only allowed it to go through by labeling it as a tax. (Which President Obama insisted numerous times it was not.) So, perhaps this one was more shot at the old administration.
The purpose of these articles, by me and Brandon Ballenger, was to show the worst thing President Trump did for consumers in 2017. As far as years go, in my opinion, this one has been a great one for consumers.
If Trump did anything that was negative, it would have to be eliminating the mandate for Americans to purchase health insurance or be fined. The repercussions for other Americans purchasing health insurance in exchanges could become troubling.
How bad could it be?
There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on how bad repealing the individual mandate could be. The number of people who will receive insurance from an Affordable Care Act exchange hasn’t been calculated. It’s estimated to be around 8.8 million people.
For all the bluster — from both sides — on the impact of the exchanges, it boils down to affecting those people. On one hand, if more people sign up for the exchanges, it lowers the cost for all.
On the other hand, if you force someone to buy something for the “greater good,” that’s unfair.
So people who feel unduly forced into purchasing health insurance will see the yoke of that burden lifted. For those people, this particular section of the tax law is a win.
However, it may be a loss for many more. The individual mandate did force a number of healthy people into the marketplaces to offset health insurance costs for others.
The most recent estimates believe that could force health insurance premiums in the market to rise, since those people no longer have to sign up. People who get ACA insurance could see 10 percent higher premiums in the next few years. Studies also show those rises will affect the middle class. (Remember there are subsidies in these exchanges for poorer families.)
As far as the ACA exchanges go, this could be the beginning of a significant downturn. The people who will deal with the brunt of it will be the middle of America.
However, given that less than 10 million people are in those exchanges now, it won’t be a significant cross-section of America. I know that is a heartless view. But, considering the ACA did nothing to actually make health care affordable, it will be more of a slow death, slowly ripping off a Band-Aid.
Remember, the point of the Affordable Care Act was to make health care affordable. It wasn’t to give everyone health insurance. But, the only fix that could be ramrodded through Congress was one where the cost shift could be shouldered by an industry: insurance companies. Then, by extension, you would shoulder the costs.
So this is the first act to dismantle that flawed framework. However, in the process there will be negative consequences to some Americans’ wallets. That’s why this is the worst thing Trump did in 2017: repeal the individual mandate. It’s one of the few things he has done which could cost average Americans money.
Article last modified on December 29, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Repealing the Obamacare Mandate Is the Worst Thing Trump Did for Consumers in 2017 - AMP.
Article last modified on December 29, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC .