Don't look now, but Kellyanne Conway's broken brain is infecting everyone around her.
On Wednesday, the presidential counselor and That Friend Who Gives You Bed, Bath and Beyond Gift Certificates for Every Birthday discussed health care with Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer. First thing on his mind: When are we going to hear about this executive order Donald Trump plans to sign that will wreck the health insurance markets? Not that Hemmer phrased it that way:
HEMMER: The executive order on healthcare. When will that come out and be made public.
CONWAY: Well that could come soon.
And on cue, she winked at the camera. Winked. As if it were a Maxwell House commercial and Hemmer had asked just how she manages to brew such robust and flavorful coffee every time.
A moment later, Conway spectacularly flummoxed Hemmer:
CONWAY: Look at how many insurers have fled the exchanges, the Obamacare exchanges because they simply can't afford to do business.
HEMMER: Well, with that order may ... many shall do that. I mean, that's a real possibility.
Likelihood, actually. It's a real likelihood. The executive order is likely to deregulate the individual insurance market. From Politico:
But already, insurers and policy experts have warned that allowing cheap, loosely regulated association health plans to flood the market would upset the Obamacare market's delicate balance and open the door to undermining key protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Association health plans are already sold in some states but have to meet Obamacare's regulations. If the administration were to free them from those rules, those plans could charge far lower premiums for a skimpier set of benefits — aiming to attract the healthiest and cheapest enrollees while potentially leaving Obamacare plans with higher-cost customers.
“It would deteriorate the risk pool, lead to increased premiums, more instability and potentially make insurers have to make decisions on whether they're going to continue to participate,” said Cori Uccello, a senior health fellow at the American Academy of Actuaries.
Contra Conway's assurances, selling health insurance across state lines is likely to make the product more expensive and less comprehensive. There is no question insurers will flee the exchanges. Quite a few have said they will be forced to do so by the very sabotage of Obamacare that Conway is gleefully selling.
Conway's answer to Hemmer was simply gobbledygook:
“It's why 29 million Americans by some estimates don't have health insurance now. It's why premiums have doubled everywhere on average.”
Many of those 29 million Americans lack coverage because conservative-led states refused the Medicaid expansion that was part of Obamacare and dramatically helped reduce the uninsured rate. Rising premiums have many causes, but the main reason they are rising right now is because of the uncertainty insurers are feeling over the Trump administration's sabotage of the law.
Hemmer almost caught Conway and forced her to admit it. Then, either he became too gobsmacked by how blatantly she was spinning him, or he remembered he works for Fox News.
Watch the segment below.