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Updated January 31st, 2017

Today Is The Last Day To Sign Up For Obamacare

If you still need to obtain health insurance coverage for 2017, today is your last chance to do so for 2017. Open enrollment ends on 1/31 at midnight. If you sign up by today, you will be grandfathered into a 2017 plan, and at no point during 2017 can your insurance carrier stop providing you with coverage. If you need to sign up for Obamacare please use the link below.

Obamacare Signup – Health Insurance Enrollment

Updated January 21st, 2017

President Trump Signs Executive Order That Could Result In A Rollback Of The Individual Mandate

After being sworn into office as the 45th President Of The United States of America, the first order of business for President Trump was to sign an executive order that could lead to the collapse of the federal health insurance marketplace (Healthcare.gov) as well as for the state exchange marketplaces. His executive order opened the door for the HHS Secretary  to provide “hardship exemptions” to just about anyone who does not want to obtain health insurance coverage that meets the minimum requirements set by the ACA. Or it could be given to anyone who simply doesn’t want to have health insurance and doesn’t want to pay the tax penalty. Why is this damaging to the insurance exchanges? Health insurance carriers have concern that this could lead to only those who are chronically ill to seek coverage and discourage in particular, young healthy individuals who help balance out the risk pool.

Currently there is little else that is known about when President Trump’s healthcare reform policy will take shape, when details about it will be shared, and what options those who want to retain the same benefits that the ACA allows for, will have as an alternative.

As things stand right now, if you need health coverage for 2017, you need to get enrolled right away. We highly advise that you not wait until the enrollment deadline which is 1/31/2017 to try to enroll. Enrollment on that day in particular will be incredibly difficult. We estimate that there will be upwards of three million Americans trying to sign up for coverage from 1/30 through 1/31.

Again we highly advise that anyone who needs coverage to sign up immediately and get grandfathered into a plan for 2017.

How A Republican Led Repeal Of Obamacare Without Having A Replacement Plan Ready Will Harm All Americans

Current support for an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also know as Obamacare, led by the Republican controlled Senate is almost unanimous. Just five Republican members of the Senate,  are thought to be objecting to an immediate repeal of Obamacare that does not include a replacement.

– Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee

– Senator Rob Portman of Ohio

– Senator Susan Collins of Maine

– Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana

– Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

Presently if an outright repeal were to be brought forth and put into action immediately, it would mean that approximately 20 million Americans would be at risk of losing their health coverage very soon. This would also mean that all Americans, not just those insured through Obamacare, but also through an employer, would lose the rights and protections the law affords them as well. So, in effect, a full repeal impacts anyone who has almost any level or type of healthcare coverage, subsidized or not.

Specifically, the most important parts of the law that are universally popular and thought to be a proposed part of President-elect Trump’s replacement plan are the following.

  • Guaranteed Issue (You can not be refused coverage because of a pre-existing condition)
  • Expanded Age Limit For Children On Parents Policy (Children can remain on a parents policy until they are the age of 26)
  • Expansion Of CHIP (More than 9 million children are now receiving insurance benefits because of an expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Medicaid Expansion (Medicaid has been expanded in a number of states because of provisions within the Affordable Care Act)

Timeline For Government And Insurance Carriers To Create A Full Replacement

Current timeline estimates for a functional repeal and replace, one that the government and the health insurance carriers work hand-in-hand to craft and then implement is thought to be minimally two years.

Why is this? Well the main reason is simply this, the health insurance industry moves at a glacial pace. This isn’t out of complacency or disinterest in making swift progress to improve outcomes for Americans. No, it is simply a by-product of a large, unwieldy beast of an industry, one that is a touch point in hundreds of millions of Americans lives. This naturally comes with a lot of responsibility and expectation to get it right. Out of necessity, health insurance carriers are data-driven, number crunching, accountants, hunched over complex spreadsheets for months, calculating risk modeling. Their goal is to determine a hopefully accurate estimate on risk exposure and viability of the plans being offered to consumers.

Combine what’s mentioned above with the logistics required to negotiate all new contracts with hospitals, doctors, PBM’s (prescription drugs) urgent care centers, and every other part of the health insurance food chain. When you take into account all of the different moving parts, it is actually easy to understand why a two year minimum for a realistic timeline is not just reasonable, but maybe even be a little optimistic.

What An Outright Repeal Would Mean Immediately

It would mean that the more than 20 million Americans, who currently have coverage under the Affordable Care Act, would be in jeopardy of coverage disruption or losing access to their current available health plan entirely.

Why is this? Well for one, if a repeal is put into action without a replacement — in effect a safety net for those who might be dropped from their coverage if their insurance carrier decides to no longer offer plans with the same minimum benefits — Americans will be harmed.

Insurance carriers would be able to go back to excluding anyone with a pre-existing condition they determined to be too risky from obtaining coverage. Or, if they are offered coverage, their policy might stipulate that any costs associated with treatment for the pre-existing condition would not be covered by their plan.

What are common health conditions that prevented someone from obtaining coverage before the ACA?

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (all types)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hepatitis
  • Extensive Sports Injuries (ACL,MCL and similar injuries)
  • Opioid Addiction
  • Heart Disease
  • Obesity (significantly over weight)
  • Asthma

Will President-elect Trump’s Final Obamacare Replacement Plan Be Harmed By A Quick Repeal?

Another aspect that could be troubling for the future success of President-elect Trump’s replacement plan to Obamacare, is that it could make insurance carriers less willing to participate with Obamacare’s replacement in the future. Again, insurance carriers are not unlike massive Navy aircraft carriers that take a considerable amount of time to simply point in another direction, it takes time to move the ship safely in a new direction. For Republicans to not take into consideration what negative impact a fast repeal with no replacement will have on them will not be forgotten.

Presidential elections are held far more often than the health insurance industry wants to plan and rollout the next iteration of healthcare reform. It might be more difficult for President-elect Trump to get buy-in from a majority of health insurance carriers, which is going to be essential in order to have a highly competitive marketplace where costs get driven down because of lots of competition. Making the transition from Obamacare, to President-elect Trump’s replacement for it significantly more difficult. This not only seems to potentially put much of the Senate at odds with the President-elect, but with the voters who elected him in the first place. Many of whom it goes without saying, but we’re saying it anyway, benefitted from the down-ballot vote, or so the Republican-led sweep would leave a reasonable person to believe.

Is The Republican Senate Simply More Interested In Seeking A Swift “Symbolic Repeal” Or To Best Serve Americans?

You kind of have to wonder exactly who benefits from a full repeal that is not paired with a simultaneous replacement ready to go.

  • Americans currently covered by Obamacare? No, it certainly doesn’t benefit them. They may no longer have coverage. Obviously anyone who is now recovering from any significant illness or disease would now be in great peril. Impacting a larger percentage of people will be those who simply lose their coverage.
  • Americans who have coverage outside of Obamacare through an employer? No, they have more protections now and essential minimum requirements as a result of the ACA.
  • Insurance Carriers? No, quick-sweeping legislative changes that throw a wrench into the gears of the healthcare machine they’ve been trying to keep on the road simply forces a lot of carriers to scramble to prevent a sudden crash and or death spiral of the system that is in place.
  • Health Insurance Costs, Will Those Go Down? Nope, pricing under any new model will take that same approximate two-year timeline to formulate and negotiate if we’re talking about major medical coverage. Insurance that includes all of the universally popular parts of Obamacare that Trump has said he wants to keep.
  • Wealthy People? Yes, it is entirely true that the top earners in the country are going to see an immediate tax benefit from a full repeal.

So Who The Heck Benefits From This Repeal Without A Replacement Already?

It beats the heck out of us, really. In all seriousness the Senate moving forward with a full repeal without caring about having an actual replacement safety net can only be viewed as pure politics and nothing more than a symbolic gesture on the part of the Republican Senate. For seven years they have been attempting to bring legislation to repeal Obamacare to a vote, most often only to be defeated on the senate floor, and or only to be vetoed by the President. Prior to the actual launch of the ACA they tried to cut it down before it even had a chance to provide healthcare to millions for the first time. For the GOP, which has been complaining about Obamacare for almost a decade, it’s been a lot of frustrating  “tough talk” and no real opportunity to “walk the walk” for a very long time. Well now that the moment has unexpectedly arrived and caught everyone off guard, it now seems the ACA is exposed and hard-line Senators such as Mitch McConnell are more concerned about following through on their years of “attempts at a repeal” than the messy aftermath of a quick repeal will actually have.

It seems that any reasonable person would find it hard to argue against a measured response that carefully weighs the consequences, and let’s get to brass tacks, the collateral damage that will be left in its wake.

Are Republicans Setting Themselves Up For A Strained Relationship With The President-elect And Midterm Voters?

Americans have made it clear that they’re only in favor of a repeal and immediate replacement of the ACA. No polling has indicated that anyone is in favor of effectively hanging everyone out to dry, pulling coverage from 20 million, and the probable ensuing market collapse, all so Senate republicans can throw a festival on the ashes of the ACA celebrating their victory.

Additionally a vote to repeal without a replacement could be viewed as a slight against the President-elect and the American people. The repeal would be serving Senate politicians who most Americans in this election cycle seemed to be pretty fed up with, hence Trump’s election. Politicians who are party first and American people second, could find themselves in jeopardy of losing ground in future elections. Considering the enrollment numbers this enrollment season so far, on top of the overwhelming data that indicates Americans aren’t in favor of a repeal without a replacement, and the all but inevitable market collapse that will unfold following a swift repeal, this could be a very dangerous game of political chicken for Republicans.

Which kind of brings us full circle to the question of, are Republican Senators actually listening to the people who elected them to serve in the first place?

If You Have Concerns About A Quick Repeal Without A Replacement – Here’s Your Chance To Make Your Opinion Heard

Below you will find the contact information for all current Republican Senators, who intend to vote for a repeal of Obamacare regardless if there is a replacement plan ready to ensure Americans don’t lose their healthcare coverage or protections provided by parts of the Affordable Care Act. If you have questions about why these Senators would be willing to put not only those currently receiving health insurance benefits under the ACA at risk, but also those who will be covered by President-elect Trump’s plan in the future, you can call or email to let them know directly.

Senator Phone Contact
Jeff Sessions (R-AL) 202-224-4124 Contact
Richard Shelby (R-AL) 202-224-5744 Contact
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) 202-224-6665 Contact
Dan Sullivan (R-AK) 202-224-3004 Contact
Jeff Flake (R-AZ) 202-224-4521 Contact
John McCain (R-AZ) 202-224-2235 Contact
John Boozman (R-AR) 202-224-4843 Contact
Tom Cotton (R-AR) 202-224-2353 Contact
Cory Gardner (R-CO) 202-224-5941 Contact
Marco Rubio (R-FL) 202-224-3041 Contact
Johnny Isakson (R-GA) 202-224-3643 Contact
David Perdue (R-GA) 202-224-3521 Contact
Mike Crapo (R-ID) 202-224-6142 Contact
Jim Risch (R-ID) 202-224-2752 Contact
 David Purdue (R-GA) 202-224-3521 Contact
 Todd Young (R-IN) 202-224-5623 Contact
Joni Ernst (R-IA) 202-224-3254 Contact
Chuck Grassley (R-IA) 202-224-3744 Contact
Jerry Moran (R-KS) 202-224-6521 Contact
Pat Roberts (R-KS) 202-224-4774 Contact
Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 202-224-2541 Contact
Rand Paul (R-KY) 202-224-4343 Contact
Bill Cassidy (R-LA) 202-224-5824 Contact
 John Kennedy (R-LA) 202-224-4623 Contact
Susan Collins (R-ME) 202-224-2523 Contact
Thad Cochran (R-MS) 202-224-5054 Contact
Roger Wicker (R-MS) 202-224-6253 Contact
Roy Blunt (R-MO) 202-224-5721 Contact
Steve Daines (R-MT) 202-224-2651 Contact
Deb Fischer (R-NE) 202-224-6551 Contact
Ben Sasse (R-NE) 202-224-4224 Contact
Dean Heller (R-NV) 202-224-6244 Contact
Richard Burr (R-NC) 202-224-3154 Contact
Thom Tillis (R-NC) 202-224-6342 Contact
John Hoeven (R-ND) 202-224-2551 Contact
Rob Portman (R-OH) 202-224-3353 Contact
Jim Inhofe (R-OK) 202-224-4721 Contact
James Lankford (R-OK) 202-224-5754 Contact
Pat Toomey (R-PA) 202-224-4254 Contact
Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 202-224-5972 Contact
Tim Scott (R-SC) 202-224-6121 Contact
Mike Rounds (R-SD) 202-224-5842 Contact
John Thune (R-SD) 202-224-2321 Contact
Lamar Alexander (R-TN) 202-224-4994 Contact
Bob Corker (R-TN) 202-224-3344 Contact
John Cornyn (R-TX) 202-224-2934 Contact
Ted Cruz (R-TX) 202-224-5922 Contact
Orrin Hatch (R-UT) 202-224-5251 Contact
Mike Lee (R-UT) 202-224-5444 Contact
Shelley Moore Capito
(R-WV)
202-224-6472 Contact
Ron Johnson (R-WI) 202-224-5323 Contact
John Barrasso (R-WY) 202-224-6441 Contact
Mike Enzi (R-WY) 202-224-3424 Contact

 

Last Updated 12/29/2017

Why Do Some Republicans Seem Intent On Repealing Obamacare, Even Without A Replacement Plan Ready To Go?

When Donald Trump was out on the campaign trail as the GOP presidential nominee, he consistently proclaimed that he would repeal Obamacare on his first day in office. He indicated that he would not simply alter or update Obamacare, he’d completely repeal it. Although after meeting with President Obama, he did in fact say that there are aspects of the ACA that he thinks are worth keeping. This is a positive sign, as it really indicates that President Elect Trump isn’t only going to focus on doing what the GOP advises him is best, for the sake of politics and “optics”. A President should have to make policy decisions that might conflict with even his own administration. That looks to be leadership that’s focused on the people, not political parties and political process, kudos to Trump.

At face value, the Republican Party in general has been against Obamacare since the day it became law in 2010. At every milestone, when new features of the law were preparing to go into effect or problems led to doubt about the process, opponents of the law – largely conservatives – would challenge the Affordable Care Act in court and take their case to the people. Republicans even took parts of Obamacare to the Supreme Court, but challengers lost every battle to replace the ACA.

Why does the Republican party hate Obamacare so much? When you strip away the natural tensions that exist between the two major parties, you’re still left with some pretty interesting reasons why the GOP opposes President Obama’s healthcare reform law. It’s unknown how many of these reasons Donald Trump actually buys into, but he has made it clear that he wants Obamacare gone and replaced with his own version of healthcare reform.

For The GOP That Failed To Repeal It For Years, It’s Personal

The Supreme Court declared Obamacare to be constitutional in 2012, but that did not stop conservative objectors from challenging certain aspects of the law time and again. For instance, Republicans challenged in the Supreme Court in 2016 the provision of the ACA that forced all employers to provide employees with birth control. If companies refused, then the federal government would step in and offer those employees birth control.

The Republican party represents several religious groups that object to the concept of birth control. Contraception clashes with their beliefs, so business leaders challenged a law that seemed in direct opposition to their religious freedoms. The Supreme Court again refused to rule against Obamacare and ordered Congress to find a compromise. There have been a couple of other challenges like this one from the GOP that are solely based on the personal preferences of the Republican Party and its constituents.

Tax Subsidies and Penalties, Unpopular But Necessary

Since Obamacare went into law in 2010, the Republican Party has tried at least 56 times to repeal it without success, often targeting tax penalties and subsidies as reasons why Obamacare needs to be repealed.

According to Republicans, tax penalties are invasive because they force Americans to buy something they may not want to buy. Compelling people to buy coverage goes against conservative ideals of personal liberties. The GOP also feels as though subsidies are wasteful spending that put an unnecessary burden on the American taxpayer. Democrats counter that the subsidies allow millions of Americans to afford insurance who could not afford it before Obamacare. As for the penalties, there are practical reasons for them. No one disputes the idea that forcing people to buy insurance is a hard position to be in, but there are practical reasons for the individual mandate. Without it, young and healthy people might avoid buying insurance, which would drive up costs for everyone else.

A Matter of (Political) Ideology

Obamacare has encouraged the centralization of the health care industry. Under the ACA, the government has taken on a larger role in insurance, both in terms of regulation and administration, so the point that Republicans view Obamacare as a form of “socialized medicine.”

Conservatives believe that the government should stay out of people’s lives and not get involved in any kind of private commerce. Donald Trump’s speeches regarding health insurance have indicated that Trump considers health insurance to be a private enterprise service, and not something that is a “right”. Obamacare interferes with that dynamic. This is just one example of conflicting ideologies. When two groups disagree substantially on a foundational topic, like the government’s role in the private lives of individuals, tensions run high.

Higher Deductibles Are Making Coverage Less Practical

By June 2016, the deductibles for Obamacare health insurance policies reached an average of $7,000 per year. That means that the average consumer has to spend $7,000 out of pocket every year before health insurance kicks in. Needless to say, the GOP has jumped all over this issue and has made it the focal point of its healthcare reform platform.

Rising Premiums Making “Affordable Care” Out Of Reach For Many

Prior to Obamacare, most Americans who had health insurance had employer-sponsored health insurance that may have gone up a little each year to compensate for costs. It’s estimated that premiums on the Obamacare marketplace will go up an average of 25 percent for 2017. That’s a much higher jump than people are used to, and the core of the problem seems to be the way that Obamacare is set up.

Premiums for Obamacare plans are based on participation. The more people buy plans, the lower the premiums can stay. With more companies dropping out of the marketplace and fewer people buying new plans, there just aren’t enough numbers to make prices affordable. Rising premiums coupled with rising deductibles are coming together to create a perfect storm – a storm that Republicans can use to sway public opinion in its favor when they change the law.

There are practical and personal reasons behind Republican bias against Obamacare. Donald Trump won over GOP voters by embracing the repeal-and-replace mantra during his campaign. But when the Republican party only won 52 senate seats instead of the 60 necessary for repeal, it became obvious that Trump could not keep his promise, at least not completely.

Hatred for Obamacare among Republicans is so strong that Congress is expected to approve measures that would gut Obama’s signature health care law and replace it with something else as quickly as possible. What that something else might be is still up in the air. What should be most concerning for Americans is the idea that anyone within government on the left, right, or center, would think first about their political positioning and career before what is actually best for the people they serve. Obamacare is far from perfect, but it has in fact improved the well being of millions who were previously uninsured, and in some cases, that’s saving American lives.

Last Updated 12/12/2016

What is the Republican Plan to Replace Obamacare?

Since the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010, opponents, primarily Republicans, have been trying to repeal it. While Donald Trump was campaigning for the presidency, he took up the mantra of the Republican Party – repeal and replace – which helped him gain traction with conservatives who may not otherwise have voted for him. Trump’s campaign website outlines some of his ideas about healthcare reform, but there has not been anything specific to indicate how he intends to carry out his plans. As we draw nearer to his inauguration in January, Republicans in Congress will need to come to a consensus about how to proceed.

Obamacare is an extensive piece of legislation that reaches into the lives of millions of Americans. It wasn’t until he won the presidential election and started to put his cabinet together that Trump started to release more details about his plan to replace the ACA. It looks like Trump is going to follow the advice of two men who have been leading the charge against Obamacare for years. Dr. Tom Price from Georgia and House Speaker Paul Ryan are at the forefront of the repeal-and-replace movement, and they have a plan that they could drop right into place once Trump takes office.

An Evolving Republican Plan 

Tom Price introduced the Empowering Patients First Act in 2009, but his most recent iteration of the bill was released to the 114th Congress in 2015. Each has been intended to be a replacement for Obamacare. Price believes that the ACA puts too much power into the hands of the government, hospitals and doctors in terms of delivery of care. He wants to give patients more and better health care options, and he wants to hold medical care providers accountable for the quality of their care.

It should be noted that Price’s plan is not a complete overhaul of Obamacare. Price agrees with some statutes of Obamacare, and those happen to be the same statutes that Donald Trump supports. Speaker Paul Ryan was one of the Congressional leaders who helped to introduce the Empowering Patients First Act. Ryan is expected to be at the forefront of any changes to Obamacare using the Empowering Patients First Act as a road map.

The Democratic Response

Not unexpectedly, Democrats in Congress were not impressed when Price’s bill was introduced. Democrats contended that Republicans were never serious about the bill because it was never presented as a real bill for the Congress to consider. But now that the GOP runs the show in D.C., Democrats can expect to see real health reform legislation hit the floor that looks a lot like Price’s plan.

What Changes will be Made to Obamacare?

A quick look at the Republican health care reform bill offers better insight into what Trumpcare might become. Highlights include:

  • Expanding the availability and limits on Health Savings Accounts
  • Helping people move away from employer-sponsored health insurance by offering some form of tax incentives to make the individual purchase of health insurance more affordable
  • Setting limits for how much employer-sponsored health care can be offered as tax-free income
  • Removing any limitations that may exist in buying and selling health insurance across state lines
  • Offering block grants to the states so that they can tailor Medicaid services for their citizens instead of having to follow a growing number of federal rules
  • Privatizing Medicare by starting to offer a method for helping seniors to fund their own health plans by 2024

Since the election, the GOP and Ryan specifically have been updating the public on more details regarding changes to Obamacare and Medicare. Donald Trump has been relatively quiet on any of these changes, and Trump has not offered any new information on what he intends to do with Obamacare when he is inaugurated.

From the Democratic Side

While Republicans may be reaching a consensus, it’s not entirely clear what that consensus might be. Several outlets have speculated on how the GOP replacement plan might affect the current American health care system. According to ObamacareFacts.com:

  • Costs for healthcare will once again start to skyrocket.
  • Pre-existing conditions will again be allowed to affect coverage (Donald Trump has denied this).
  • All tax subsidies will be eliminated.
  • Eligibility requirements for Medicaid will narrow.
  • Tax breaks will favor businesses over individuals.

The truth about what will replace Obamacare is probably somewhere in the middle between what the GOP is saying and what the Democrats are saying. Trump himself has shifted his position several times, and his latest insistence is that he wants to keep key parts of Obamacare in place. Much of the ACA’s future – and with it, the future of 22 million people who have coverage thanks to Obamacare – depends on what happens once Trump takes office in January.

Trumpcare’s Potential Premium Deductions

Health insurance, specifically the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was a prime talking point during the 2016 presidential campaign. Republican nominee Donald Trump promised to repeal the ACA the moment he took office. But since the GOP only has 52 senate seats instead of the 60 needed for a repeal, it is unlikely that Trump will be able to keep his campaign promise.

Despite not having a two-thirds majority in the senate, Trump can still make significant changes to the ACA that would permanently and completely alter the way it looks and works. One of the areas where Trump wants to make changes is by creating premium deductions for individuals. In order to understand what Trump wants to do here, we need to first look at how individuals are currently able to treat health insurance premiums on their taxes.

Taxes and Health Insurance

Health insurance premiums are considered non-taxable income for you and your employer. That’s why your premiums are taken out of your pay in pre-tax dollars. Your employer is also able to deduct the portion of your health insurance premiums that it pays, making sure that health insurance premiums are basically a non-tax event.

The ACA made a few changes to health insurance related taxes that affect everyone. If the medical and dental expenses you pay out of pocket exceed 10 percent of your gross income, then you can use the portion over 10 percent as a deduction. If you pay certain for certain medical expenses out of your own pocket, such as the cost for medical transportation, then you can deduct that from your taxes as well.

While you cannot claim any money that you paid into a Health Savings Account (HSA), the good news is that you can use that money tax-free to cover medical expenses. The ACA also allows you to deduct any out-of-pocket expenses you paid to drive to a medical care facility. This means that your transportation to a hospital, whether it is by car or ambulance, is tax deductible.

Trumpcare Tax Subsidies

Under the ACA, any consumer with an income that is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty line can get some kind of tax subsidy to help with the costs of health insurance. Anyone who makes less than 250 percent of the federal poverty line will have access to cost-sharing reduction subsidies that help to absorb more of the medical costs you paid out of your own pocket for the year. Tax credits are applied up front by most people. The cost-sharing program is applied when you file your taxes, so it works as a reimbursement.

Tax Penalties

If you do not have a qualifying health insurance plan in place throughout the year and are not exempt from having coverage, then you risk paying a federal income tax penalty. Exemptions exist for certain groups of people, like members of Native American tribes, religious organizations that object to health insurance, and people who are incarcerated.

In 2016, the penalty was $695 for each uninsured adult and $347.50 for each uninsured child in your family, or 2.5 percent of your family’s total taxable income, whichever was higher. The Obama administration uses the penalty as a way of motivating people to buy insurance and help keep overall costs down for everyone. Opponents of the law view the individual mandate as invasive, and Republicans have vowed to eliminate it once Trump takes office.

Taxes under Trumpcare

Donald Trump’s take on health insurance taxes is confusing and vague. For example, he wants to allow everyone to be able to use the tax-free HSA program, but he doesn’t indicate if that includes people without health insurance as well.

The most significant tax change Trump wants to make with his health insurance reforms is to allow everyone who pays insurance premiums to a private insurance company to be able to deduct those premiums. In other words, if you buy your health insurance directly from an insurance company, then Trump wants your premiums to be in pre-tax dollars, just like anyone who has employer-sponsored insurance.

There are two issues with this plan that render it useless. First, the Huffington Post ran the numbers and determined that offering this sort of tax deduction to private insurance buyers is not the same as getting employer-sponsored health insurance. While the deduction helps, consumers are still better off getting their insurance through their employers.

Trump points to how much his premium deductions will help small businesses and self-employed workers, but both groups can already write off health insurance premiums from their taxes. In essence, Trump’s most significant health insurance premium deduction is actually nothing new, and it does not help as much as he thinks it will.

Right now, health insurance premiums are considered non-taxable income by the IRS. That means that anyone who pays their own premiums in full, businesses or individuals, can deduct those premiums on their taxes. Donald Trump’s plan does little more than reinforce laws that already exist, which does nothing to promote health insurance reform or ease the financial burden of individual consumers.