Monday, 22 October, 2018

White House asks for more time on health care subsidies

Sandy Vega | 26 May, 2017, 10:54

The trend against Republicans on health care also tracks with President Donald Trump's own stumbles following House GOP action on the issue.

The Trump administration and the U.S. House of Representatives put off a major ruling on the future of ObamaCare subsidies Monday, telling a federal court they will need more time to decide how to proceed as the GOP awaits a score on its revamped health care bill this week. "Congress could resolve any uncertainty about the payments by passing the AHCA and reforming Obamacare's failed funding structure".

"Today's delay in committing to cost-sharing payments will force millions of people across the country to pay 20 percent more for their coverage - a Trump tax - exclusively because of the deliberate uncertainty created by the president and his allies".

The group is one of the main lobbying associations for health insurers.

This is a reference to the legislative effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare. "It's critical to ensuring overall affordability". Without those subsidies, experts say, premiums could jump about 20 percent in 2018. John McCain, a frequent critic of the president, told the Examiner that the media misquoted him that Trump's troubles have hobbled the GOP agenda, insisting that he said "it has diverted our attention".

On Thursday, more than a dozen Democratic state attorneys general sought to intervene in the case due to concerns that the administration is seeking to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

The judges have not yet acted on that request.

Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from ME, said that she thinks there needs to be some kind of certainty for people who rely on the cost-sharing reduction payments.

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If you look at the whole pie of federal payments that marketplace insurers are expecting this year (that includes billions of dollars for premiums), the cost-sharing subsidies comprise a pretty big slice - about $7 billion, or 15 percent of all subsidies.

The value of those subsidies rises as the premiums rise, so that even with double-digit percentage premium increases in 2017, many exchange customers saw only a slight rise in the actual cost of coverage to themselves. The White House left the option of paying the subsidies on the table. Democrats ripped that number, but it also made some Republicans uncomfortable. Sen.

"In merely delaying their suit, Republicans cynically continue to sow uncertainty in the health coverage of millions of Americans", House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said in a statement. His Republican opponent, tech millionaire Greg Gianforte, said through a spokesman early this month that he needed more information before deciding whether he favored the health legislation, while on the same day he praised the bill during a private conference call, according to the New York Times, which said it obtained a recording of the call.

Would the House Republican health care bill impact insurance provided by employers? Insurers offer those discounts up front, but then expect to be reimbursed for them by the federal government.

The cost-sharing subsidies are one of two major types of assistance the ACA provides to help make coverage affordable for lower-income people who buy private health plans through the law's marketplaces. Mainly he wants to shore up Obamacare exchanges so that millions do not lose coverage. "This threatens not just their own health and financial stability, but also the economic stability of their communities".

The aide said lawmakers don't yet fully realize the range of decisions needed to be made to move forward on the budget, taxes and the spending bills for next year. If this is the case, why couldn't an uninsured person simply go to the front desk at the hospital and ask for treatment, which by law can't be denied, such as, "I'm here for my annual physical, or for a screening colonoscopy?"

There could be unintended consequences, as well.

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