Labor Secretary Alex Acosta announced a new rule that will help small businesses and self-employed individuals purchase health insurance. From The Wall Street Journal:

The rule makes it far easier for small businesses and self-employed individuals to band together and obtain “association health plans” for themselves and their employees. Many of the plans will be subject to the same rules as larger employers, which means they won’t have to provide comprehensive benefits, such as maternity services, prescription drugs, or mental health care, mandated under the ACA.

That is expected to lead to lower prices for people who enroll. “You may be able to buy a policy that’s several thousand dollars cheaper,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), said in an interview before the rule’s release. “This is the most promising proposal for quality insurance for self-employed people who might make $60,000 to $70,000 but get no subsidies.”

While premiums for association plans will probably be significantly cheaper, costs for consumers who buy their own coverage on the individual market are likely to rise, analysts say. Those higher premiums are expected to increase the number of Americans without coverage.

This new rule means “small companies or self-employed people with a shared industry or geographic location will be able to form an association focused on a business interest and buy insurance.” WSJ continued:

A group could use its collective membership to negotiate prices with payers and providers, according to a senior administration official. The associations couldn’t charge an individual higher premiums based on pre-existing health conditions, but they could base premiums on other factors, such as age, industry and employee classification.

Premiums could be $9,700 a year less for association plans compared with those on the individual market, according to a February report on the proposed rule by the health-consulting firm Avalere. Their premiums would be about $2,900 a year less than those for plans in the small-group market, which includes employers with less than 50 employees.

Women couldn’t be charged more within individual plans, but associations with a preponderance of female employees could be charged more overall, according to the senior Labor Department official.

Those who support these association plans insist that consumers will have a “much broader array of choices, allowing them to choose policies that fit their needs.”

One Labor Department official said a survey found that “[A]n additional four million Americans are expected to enroll in these less-comprehensive plans by 2023” and this includes 400,000 people who do not have insurance at this time.

Of course, the Democrats and critics have screamed about this new rule. I have numerous pre-existing conditions and I’m honestly sick and tired of these people using me to push their agenda. From The Washington Examiner:

Those opposed to the provision say healthier people would opt for the association health plans and leave the Obamacare-created exchanges, which allow certain consumers to access private health insurance that is subsidized by the government. Customers who are left in the exchanges and whose income doesn’t qualify them for subsidies would have to pay more because sicker people would be left behind. Six million people are expected to enroll in these plans, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

CBO projected that these plans, and short term-plans that are another type of alternative health insurance that will be offered by the Trump administration, will increase premiums on the exchanges by 2 to 3 percent.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) described this move as a “sabotage of our healthcare system” and insisted it’s a “back door to expanding junk insurance plans that weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions.” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) also said this rule will “make healthcare in our country worse by undermining access to care for people with pre-existing conditions, destabilizing markets and driving up costs.”

I’ve asked this question before and I’ll ask it again until I receive an answer from these leftists: WHY shouldn’t the healthier people opt for a cheaper plan? WHY should they stay in an expensive market so people like me can have lower costs? It’s not their fault my body is a mess. I know it’s not my fault either, but people, especially those who don’t know me, shouldn’t be forced to pay for something they don’t want or need because of my health problems.

Could someone please remind these Senators that my insurance was pretty darn good before Obamacare and that their precious law hiked up the costs of my insurance?

Another Labor Department official stated that people with pre-existing conditions will have protection “just as they are in the large-group market, as well as on age and gender.”

[Featured image via Wikimedia Commons]