You Make a Difference! Our mission and operations are funded entirely by Patriots like you! Please support the 2023 Year-End Campaign now.

February 6, 2019

Trump Critics Admit Success of Association Health Plans

Despite early warnings that deregulation would lead to disaster, the truth is the opposite.

It seems at every turn, President Donald Trump’s shrillest critics are being forced to eat crow. He was widely mocked during his campaign in 2016, with virtually every pundit declaring he had almost no chance of beating Hillary Clinton … until he did. Critics claimed GOP tax reform would damage the economy; instead, it unleashed massive economic growth and job creation. They said taking a bombastic, hardline stance with North Korean tyrant and Chinese puppet Kim Jong-un would lead to nuclear war; instead, it brought the diminutive dictator to the negotiating table.

And this past summer, when President Trump rolled out new rules allowing individuals, the self-employed, and small businesses to band together and purchase health insurance across state lines, in what he called “association health plans” (AHPs), his critics again scoffed and attacked.

In reality, The Wall Street Journal described the concept for AHPs as proposed by the Health Policy Consensus Group, a conservative coalition of policy experts that included The Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Galen Institute and the Manhattan Institute. The idea was to “drive control of health care almost entirely to the states, reversing [ObamaCare’s] federal mandates that seek to provide basic minimum benefits and consumer protections, which Republicans argue limit people’s choice. … Under the conservative plan, states would receive ACA money in the form of block grants to help low-income consumers buy coverage. Health savings accounts, which let people set aside tax-free money for medical expenses, would be expanded. Insurers could give discounts to people who are young or maintain continuous coverage.”

Democrats mocked the plans as “junk insurance,” and one Leftmedia outlet called it a “flop.”

Andy Slavitt, the man responsible for implementing ObamaCare, was blunt in his denunciation, declaring, “Association health plans are not the solution to any problem Americans have. They won’t make drugs more affordable, they won’t help Americans get health care they need. … When [association health plan members] finally do get sick, they find out what isn’t covered at exactly the wrong time and [then] coverage is more expensive and unavailable. … That’s why 95% of doctors, patient groups, and insurers say it’s a bad idea.”

So … what kind of wine goes best with crow?

As it turns out, the association health plans have been so successful that even the Trump-hating Washington Post conceded this Trump victory.

The Post’s assistant editor, Robert Gebelhoff, wrote, “It’s time to acknowledge that critics may have misjudged one of the Trump administration’s signature health-care policies — ‘bigly.’ … New reports suggest that much of that fear might be overblown — at least for the time being. As The Washington Post’s health policy guru Paige Winfield Cunningham laid out this week, more than two dozen association health plans have been developed since the administration issued its new rule, and so far they don’t look nearly as skimpy as experts predicted.”

You don’t say!

Cunningham elaborates on the “shocking” success, noting, “Chambers of commerce and trade associations have launched more than two dozen of these ‘association health plans’ in 13 states in the seven months since the Labor Department finalized new rules. … And there are initial signs the plans are offering generous benefits and premiums lower than can be found in the Obamacare marketplaces.”

Cunningham continues, “When it comes to these new association health plans, they appear — at least so far — to offer benefits comparable to most workplace plans and haven’t tried to discriminate against patients with preexisting conditions.” She also notes that Land O'Lakes, a farm cooperative that participated in the AHPs, serving farmers in Nebraska and Minnesota, reports savings of 25-35% over plans in the ObamaCare ACA marketplace.

Gebelhoff also reported the findings of the Congressional Budget Office, which predicts significant health coverage gains due to the AHPs, so much so that “an estimated 5 million people will enroll in either a short-term plan or an association health plan every year over the next decade, including more than 1 million people annually who were previously uninsured.”

Gebelhoff concluded by admitting, “So far, it seems these plans could work exactly as his administration promised: By helping offer coverage options for middle-income families who are making too much to qualify for federal ACA subsidies but are still struggling to afford premiums.”

The bane of conservative policies is that they sound harsh or uncompassionate, but the benefit is that they promote freedom and expand prosperity.

“Progressive” policies have the opposite problem. While sounding idealistic and compassionate in theory, in practice they crush the individual under the power of an unmerciful state while spreading poverty and misery to all but those holding the reins of power. To any who doubt that, read up on stories of people eating rats and dogs to keep from starving in the socialist utopia of Venezuela.

With the wonderful success of association health plans, hopefully Americans will reject the leftist propaganda they’ve been fed and allow the free market to bring these same types of successes to education and Social Security.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2023 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.