Trump Cuts Obamacare Clauses as Labor Market Continues to Tighten
August 17, 2017
While the White House has decided to continue Obamacare payments, Trump has cut contraception regulations that protect women’s rights to health coverage. The labor market continues to tighten, however manufacturing in Philadelphia has declined slightly.
- Trump to cut down Obama contraception mandate. President Trump is set to announce a new rule getting rid of the Obama era mandate that all employers provide contraception with their health insurance. While the Supreme Court famously decided in the Hobby Lobby case last year that private, closely held companies could use religious or moral objections to decline providing such coverage, Trump’s rule will open the opportunity to deny coverage to many more companies with objections. It will also get rid of a provision that allows women whose employer do not provide contraception to obtain coverage directly from insurers, a rule religious organizations called forcing businesses to be “complicit in sin.” While religious activists, who backed Trump in the 2016 election, applauded this rule, the ACLU and National Women’s Law Center believe they have a strong case that the rule unfairly targets women’s health and violates the right to freedom of religion. The case is likely headed for the Supreme Court within the next year. [WSJ]
- Trump to continue Obamacare payments, for now. The Trump administration agreed to continue making payments to subsidize premiums to insurance companies, payments which, if ceased, would cause companies to exit the market or jack up rates. The administration has declined, however, to make any promises as to the future of these payments, making it difficult for insurers to plan for the future and set rates for the 2018 insurance season. While Trump has long sought the end of the Obama era health reform, insurers and health advocate alike warn that to halt these payments would be disastrous, leaving many millions without insurance and throwing insurance markets into turmoil. [Politico]
Economic Indicators & News
- Low jobless claims point to tight labor market, while Fed minutes cautious on inflation. A near 6 month low in jobless claims announced Thursday showed jobless claims for state unemployment benefits were at 232,000 this past week. Jobless claims decreased by 12,000, beating analyst estimates. This low figure is just shy of February’s record low jobless number, which was the lowest since 1973. While Fed minutes released Wednesday afternoon show that the committee is concerned about low wage growth and low inflation, a phenomenon most Western banks are facing, continually strong jobs data will likely encourage the Fed to begin selling some of its $4.2 trillion in bonds. [Reuters]
- Philadelphia manufacturing growth declines slightly. Growth in manufacturing in the Philadelphia area, measured in the Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, was down slightly in August. The growth, however, beat expectations, and the positive reading of 18.9 on the index indicates the region’s manufacturing industry is continuing to expand. The survey is a metric for manufacturing activity nationally, and is typically correlated with other manufacturing indexes such as the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Index. [Nasdaq]