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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Oil execs, car-part makers, insurers see Trump policy flaws

President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room

President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Credit: AP

Blowback against President Donald Trump could always be expected from progressives, feminists, environmental groups, some conservatives and, of course, Democrats.

But this week, White House policies are drawing hefty criticism from different corners of U.S. business.

Take Trump’s executive order to change health-insurance rules.

Some movers and shakers praised its willingness to allow business associations to set up health plans. But insurance industry leaders expressed fear that chaos may lie ahead as key subsidies are withdrawn.

“Overall, the proposal has potential to bring increased instability and volatility to the health insurance markets by separating the market into two smaller pools,” said David Dillon, a fellow of the Society of Actuaries.

The Trumpcare bill that recently failed in the Senate was opposed by the nation’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plans and the lobby group America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Big energy players also have big issues with other new policies.

Dow Chemical, Koch Industries and U.S. Steel Corp. reportedly oppose an Energy Department initiative aimed at helping nuclear and coal-fired power add reliability to the power grid.

Marty Durbin, executive vice president of The Petroleum Institute, the top lobbying group for the oil and gas industry, said officials “need to be careful that government doesn’t put its thumb on the scale” in energy markets.

“It’s better to let markets choose, which is what the United States is seeing with the growth of natural gas” as the leading U.S. source of electricity, Durbin said, according to The Associated Press.

That’s pretty much what the message would have been under President Barack Obama.

And as a new round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement began, alarms were heard from inside the auto industry.

Don Walker, CEO of Magna International Inc., a top auto parts supplier, warned that an expected push to increase content requirements in cars could result in a “lose-lose” situation.

To qualify for benefits under the pact, a certain amount of NAFTA member content is mandatory.

“If the required content to hit the threshold for a NAFTA vehicle is too high,” Walker said, people may say, ‘Look, it’s just too difficult, it’s too high, so we’ll just ship the vehicles in,’ ” Walker said. “In which case, they pay the [import] duty, and it’s a lose-lose.”

Leaders in the tourism industry such as Arthur Frommer have been referring for months to a “Trump slump” costing billions of dollars, in part due to his immigration stances.

All along, officials in Silicon Valley have protested the Trump immigration posture. Most skilled-worker visas have been going to people in computer-related jobs.

Leaders in industry are not all bullish on the businessman president.

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