On Wednesday, HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced that the Trump administration will expand access to short-term health insurance plans. Under Obama, the short-term plans could only be used for three months at a time.
That restriction was designed to force young, healthy people to go through the exchanges. Letting healthy people opt for short term plans with very limited benefits means the exchanges will be left with only the elderly and sick.
“Short-term plans don’t have to meet the ACA’s benefit requirements. They can deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, don’t have to cover any specific set of benefits, and can cap how much they’ll pay in a year,” Axios notes.
On Thursday, the Trump administration also rolled back environmental standards for motor vehicles. EPA head Andrew Wheeler announced the loosening of greenhouse gas emissions, citing the American public’s desire for the policy shift towards vehicles that spew more greenhouse gases.
“We are delivering on President Trump’s promise to the American public that his administration would address and fix the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment. We value the public’s input as we engage in this process in an open, transparent manner.”
As the environmental website Oil Price noted, it’s actually the motor vehicle lobby that’s behind the change. Automakers had accepted the standards set by Obama’s EPA. But with Trump in the White House, they seem to have found a way to take advantage of a looser regulatory environment.
“Under the Trump administration, automakers sensed an opportunity, lobbying to roll back the fuel efficiency requirements,” Oil Price notes. ‘But they got a lot more than they bargained for. The Trump administration sought to gut the standards, which sets up a predicament that the auto industry wanted to avoid: A patchwork of regulations across various states,” Oil Price observed.
In what appears to be a direct provocation of more progressive states, the EPA is also denying states, like California, the right to set tougher standards.
Former Obama administration official David Axelrod knocked the policy on Twitter.
We may be headed for another record year for raging wildfires, topping LAST YEAR, another consequence of climate change.
Meanwhile, the @realDonaldTrump Admin pushes to LOWER fuel efficiency standards below even where the automakers desire!#madness
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) August 2, 2018