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Trump aims at insurers in battle over healthcare subsidies

03 Août 2017

Like what you're reading? Finally, the proposal includes mechanisms to facilitate the sale of health insurance across state lines - another perennial Republican policy goal.

Without subsidies, the insurance companies have, and will continue to withdraw their coverage plans from the marketplace driving up premiums and deductibles even higher. Read my full story here.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has previously estimated that premiums under the ACA's silver plans - those eligible for cost sharing subsidies - could rise 20 percent if the payments end.

That ambiguity continues today. They would like to know now whether to expect the CSR payments to come through, or if they need to raise premiums to account for a new hole in their budgets. The company hasn't said how high the increase could be without the subsidy. No longer making it so that they've got coverage and no care.

At issue in this constitutional controversy is the fate of the so-called "cost-sharing reduction" (or CSR) payments. Advocates on the left are ready to pounce on any opportunity to stop Trump in the courts, and the courts seem ready and willing to listen - or, in the case of this president, read.

Trump reiterated his concerns Monday, tweeting, "If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn't it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what public pays?" Collyer wrote that the administration was trying to "squeeze the elephant" of the cost-sharing reductions into the "mousehole" of the tax credits provision. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the health committee, said Tuesday the president should pay the subsidies through September while lawmakers work on bipartisan legislation to fund the outlays for another year.

This subterfuge exempts Congress and its staff from being treated under the law the way everyone else in the country who is required to purchase insurance on the Obamacare exchanges is treated.

Trump, whose White House staffers are likely covered through FEHB, complete with premium-sharing benefits paid by taxpayers, is directly and explicitly blackmailing Congress. Sen.

Governors have good reason to push for more continuation of these payments. On Wednesday, Anthem, the second-largest insurer in the United States, said it might leave more markets in 2018. The federal government sends about US$600 million a month to insurance companies to help cover the cost, and Trump is threatening to cut that off to allow Obamacare markets to collapse. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., "Is he going to sabotage the individual market by not making the payments that the law actually embraces in terms of the exchanges or is he going to let everything blow up and hurt a lot of people in the process?" Now, Democratic attorneys general will sue the Trump administration to keep the federal subsidies.

On Sunday, Politico reported that the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of moderate Democrats and Republicans, is working with other centrists on a package of reforms to stabilize the state insurance exchanges - many of which, like Maryland's, are facing the possibility of sharply rising rates at least in part as a result of the uncertainty in Washington. Its two top executives (both sons of the plan's founder, C. David Molina) were abruptly ousted from the firm earlier this year.

The same is true in other states.

A USA appeals court on Tuesday allowed Democratic state attorneys general to defend subsidy payments to insurance companies under the Obamacare healthcare law, a critical part of funding for the statute that President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off.

A new court ruling will complicate any effort by the Trump administration to stop Obamacare subsidy payments that reduce health care costs for millions of Americans.

CORNISH: Now, President Trump regularly talks about letting the Affordable Care Act, quote, unquote, "implode". "The ACA promised to make these payments _ that could not be clearer _ and Congress has done nothing to limit that promise", said Bagley. Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller touted those rates as a sign Pennsylvania's Obamacare health insurance market had stabilized, with premium increases mostly reflecting medical cost inflation.

Trump aims at insurers in battle over healthcare subsidies