Lighthizer is a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, a prominent law firm with an active trade remedies and enforcement practice, where he filed countless anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions on behalf of United States companies seeking protection from foreign competition. Specifically, Lighthizer has been a long-time lawyer and lobbyist for U.S. Steel, the largest domestic steel manufacturer. On Nov. 14, 2016, just a week before he was named to Trump’s USTR transition team, Lighthizer filed an anti-dumping petition on behalf of U.S. Steel, seeking protection from carbon and alloy pipes imported from Romania. …This could be an indication that the administration will pursue enforcement actions rather than exploring new opportunities to reduce tariffs domestically and abroad. Trade liberalization is essential for American prosperity and we hope it will be a high priority for Trump and his deputies. Still, Lighthizer’s nomination for USTR is a potentially ominous sign that Trump’s misguided trade rhetoric on the campaign trail was not bluster.
“Repeal and delay” would further destabilize an already unstable insurance marketplace. The ACA-regulated insurance markets have been suffering from an unbalanced risk pool in many parts of the country, with many enrollees who need extensive medical attention but few who don’t need much care. Collectively, the insurance industry has lost several billion dollars over the period 2014 to 2016. In response, many large carriers pulled back their participation in the exchanges for 2017, and those that remained increased their premiums by an average of 25 percent. Thirty-six percent of the national marketplace is being served by only one insurer in 2017.Without rapid action to stabilize the exchange markets, we are likely to see more insurers dropping out and another round of sharply increasing premiums. Insurers must make initial decisions about their participation in the exchange markets by next April. This leaves very little time to take steps that might encourage insurers to offer exchange coverage in 2018. An immediate repeal of the individual mandate’s penalty will lead some younger, healthier enrollees in ACA insurance plans to stop paying premiums. Even if the number of those dropping out in 2017 is small, it will be lead to further losses for insurers, and make it even more difficult for them to justify continued participation in 2018. There is a real danger that many parts of the country would be left with no insurance plans at all offering coverage on the ACA exchanges in 2018.