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Three Things President Trump Is Already Doing to ‘Let Obamacare Fail’

A couple of other steps may be waiting in the wings

With the collapse of Senate Republicans' efforts to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), President Donald Trump declared that his plan now was to “let Obamacare fail.”

Even without Congress, The New York Times notes, the president has already started doing three things to undermine important provisions of the health law, and there are a few more things he could do.

In Progress

  • Weaken enforcement of the individual mandate. This hurts the PPACA because fewer healthy people may sign up for insurance, driving up prices for those who need it most, like older people and the sick.
  • Impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients. In such cases, many people who gained coverage through Medicaid expansion may no longer be able to afford insurance or participate in the program.
  • Fail to do advertising or outreach. Without outreach, the number of Americans who learn about the PPACA and sign up for coverage could dwindle.


  • Make tax credits for premiums less generous. If that happens, many customers may end up with plans with higher deductibles and copayments.

Not in Progress

  • Defund subsidies that help people pay out-of-pocket costs. Insurance companies would take a big financial hit, since they assumed they would get the subsidies when pricing their plans. The president could effectively defund the subsidies by stopping the appeal of a lawsuit that began under the previous administration. President Barack Obama’s lawyers had appealed a court ruling that said the subsidy payments were made without proper congressional authority.
  • Redefine essential health benefits. Customers with health problems may end up with really high insurance costs.

Source: The New York Times; July 19, 2017.

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