Obamacare rates in New York State to rise 14%

18 August, 2017, 01:12 | Author: Clint Gray
  • Mitch McConnell

The cost-sharing reduction payments have become a flashpoint in the political fight over Obamacare after Republicans in Congress failed to repeal or replace the law earlier this year.

"Ending the payments to insurers would introduce more chaos into an unsettled market, and perversely end up costing the federal government more in the end", said Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan group that found similar results. The Trump White House has considered stop funding CSRs on numerous occasions, but it has been making payments on a month-to-month basis in the face of an impending lawsuit filed in 2014.

Trump has said he may end the reimbursements, which he calls "bailouts", and has been leaving insurers to wonder month to month about whether they will receive a check. Uncertainty over the future of the payments already has prompted insurers to raise premiums for next year, industry executives have said. The panel will begin hearings on stabilizing the marketplace the first week of September.

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The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a new analysis Tuesday finding that premiums would rise 20% next year and the deficit would balloon by almost $200 billion over a decade if they subsidies are cut off; many insurers have already baked the payments' demise into their 2018 plan rates.

The government makes the insurers whole, in part, through the CSR payments. Some insurers have pulled out of the individual market, notably Anthem Blue Cross.

And, because the law still caps the premiums paid by millions of consumers at a percentage of their income, it's the government - or more accurately, the taxpayer - that will end up footing the bill for the higher premiums.

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If the subsidy payments were ended, insurers pulling out of the market would leave about 5 percent of the population in counties with no marketplace insurer, the budget office also projected. But the policy ramifications of cutting off these payments are worth understanding, especially since today's report suggests that cutting off federal payments now would lead to greater spending in the long term.

If Trump cuts off the payments, "he'll be responsible for Americans paying more for less care", said Senate Democratic leader Charles S. Schumer of NY. Ultimately, the government's portion of those costs would cause the federal deficit to increase by $194 billion over the next decade.

In a statement Wednesday, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Sen.

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House Republicans trying to thwart the ACA sued the Obama administration in federal court in Washington, arguing that the law lacked specific language appropriating the cost-sharing subsidies. This way, the administration and Congress has no other option other than comply. The judge ruled that the president has an affirmative duty not to make the payments without an explicit Congressional appropriation, and that doing so violates the Constitution. If the Trump administration decides not to appeal the case, the subsidies will end.



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