News & Politics

Trump Administration Working in Other Ways to Dismantle Obamacare

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Especially if that cat is suffering from regulatory bloat.

Despite the failure of the party that holds both chambers of Congress to repeal Obamacare, the Trump administration continues to work at chipping away at the law.

From Politico:

While Congress tussles over Obamacare, the Trump administration is quietly pressing ahead with plans to gut major Obama-era rules and relax federal oversight of swaths of the health care industry.

Top health officials have already signaled their intention to end mandatory programs making hospitals more accountable for their patients’ health, slowed the transition to a system that pays doctors based on quality rather than quantity, and indicated they will reverse a high-profile rule blocking nursing homes from forcing residents to sign away their right to sue.

Once envisioned as a companion to the GOP’s now-stalled effort to repeal Obamacare, the regulatory rollback has fast become the Trump administration’s chief weapon against former President Barack Obama’s health care legacy — and sets the stage for an industry-friendly reshaping of the health system.

What follows in this article is old-school, subtle bias. Politico never really says it’s a bad idea to do this, but it makes it seem like the administration is kicking a puppy while doing so:

However, the effort has raised alarms among patient advocates and policy experts, who fear it could erase several years of gains aimed at modernizing the health care system and tipping the balance of power away from providers and toward patients.

“It’s consistent with a general orientation to try to find significant accomplishments of the Obama administration and to undo them,” said Eliot Fishman, who spent nearly four years at CMS’ Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services before leaving the agency in April. “It’s disappointing, but not surprising.”

The presumption among bureaucrats is that any federal oversight is good. History, common sense, and an ability to read above a 4th grade level tell us that this is not always the case.

Any effort to roll regulations will naturally be met with resistance from career bureaucrats. The Trump administration is doing it with gusto, which is probably making people break out in flop sweat all over Washington.

“The Trump administration is working tirelessly to get Washington out of the way, bring down the cost of coverage, expand healthcare choices and improve quality,” an HHS spokesperson said in response to a series of questions for this article, highlighting the agency’s emphasis on abolishing rules it deems “burdensome across all spectrums of the healthcare system.”

The effort has also given rise to an apparatus within President Donald Trump’s health department dedicated to the so-called burden reduction initiative — one that multiple staffers characterized as a massive effort to solicit, evaluate and implement industry-backed ideas for slashing regulations.

“It’s not really a reducing-burden issue,” one CMS staffer said. “It is a deregulation issue. It’s a deregulation intent.”

Just as bureaucrats believe that regulations are inherently good, most private sector business people aren’t fans. It isn’t surprising that a president who comes from the private sector business world would be “industry-friendly.”

The phrase “industry-friendly” is used almost as an epithet in articles like this, while the efficacy or necessity of the regulations are rarely questioned.

Some of what the administration is trying to accomplish will return decision-making power to the states, a trend that needs to be started. Recent history has seen a steady shift of power from the states to Washington, a move that is accelerated by omnibus bills like the PPACA. Those omnibus bill are also obviously designed to entrench power in Washington.

Any effort to break up that racket should probably be applauded.