Trump Administration proposes eliminating essential mental health benefits

The New York Times (1/4, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports that on Thursday, the Trump Administration unveiled “sweeping new rules that could make it easier for small businesses to band together and create health insurance plans that would be exempt from many of the consumer protections mandated by the Affordable Care Act.” According to the Labor Department, up to 11 million consumers “could find coverage under this proposal,” which would exempt small businesses from providing certain “‘essential health benefits’ like mental health care, emergency services, maternity and newborn care and prescription drugs.” The article says “consumer groups, state officials and Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans have strenuously opposed similar ideas for years.”

The Washington Post (1/4, Goldstein) reports that this proposal “would carry out the most significant part of an executive order that President Trump signed in October, directing the government to foster more alternative types of insurance.” Advocates maintain “the so-called association health plans would be less expensive, while critics – including the insurance industry – fear that they would promote substandard coverage and weaken the ACA’s already fragile insurance marketplaces.”

The Wall Street Journal (1/4, Armour, Subscription Publication) reports that this proposal is an attempt by the Trump Administration to roll back ACA provisions by using regulations. Critics warn that by excluding some types of coverage, the plans would be able to discriminate against certain groups, such as cancer patients.

Related Links:

— “Trump Proposes New Health Plan Options for Small Businesses,” ROBERT PEAR, New York Times, January 4, 2018.

Posted in In The News.