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Trump Administration Proposal Redefines Poverty to Raise Health Care Costs for Middle-Class Families

By Stan Dorn,


For the second time in less than a month, the Trump administration has proposed obscure bureaucratic formula changes that will raise health care costs for 8.2 million people who buy private insurance using federal premium tax credits (PTCs). The latest move changes the definition of inflation that affects the federal poverty level (FPL), which is used to determine eligibility for many need-based programs.

The greatest harm will surely be felt by low-income people who lose benefits that are essential to meeting their basic human needs. But middle-class people will suffer as well.

More than 8 million people will pay more in premiums because their PTCs will decline in value, under the Trump administration’s plan. These are middle-class households, with an average income of $63,510.  The majority (57%) have no more than a high school education. They are precisely the “forgotten men and women” whom President Donald Trump promised to protect, but they are once again squarely in his administration’s crosshairs.

For more information, including state-by-state numbers, see the Families USA fact sheet.