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Trump decision on Obamacare payments could impact Pennsylvania

03 Agosto 2017, 10:30 | Bibiana Flor

Trump decision on Obamacare payments could impact Pennsylvania

President Donald Trump flanked by Sen. Tom Cotton R Ark. left and Sen. David Perdue R-Ga. speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington Wednesday during the unveiling of legislation that would place new limits on legal immigration

The Treasury Department has been making the subsidy payments to insurers through a permanent appropriation tied to a portion of the health care law that established premium tax credits for individuals who meet income requirements tied to the federal poverty level.

Playing defense, some insurers are preemptively raising premiums for next year.

According to Constitution Daily, the order gives 17 states and the local Washington, D.C., government the right to defend the constitutionality of insurer payments in ACA, known as cost-sharing subsidies.

Despite the U.S. Senate failed attempts to repeal Obamacare, Oregon officials are saying that the latest round of relatively low health insurance rate hikes here show that the law doesn't need to be abolished.

Today, Covered California - the state's healthcare exchange - issued proposed increases for next years, and patients who remain on their individual plan through the marketplace will see an average premium increase of around 12.5%. But it said it would have only asked for an 8.8% bump if Trump and House Republicans agreed to fund the Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies through 2018. This is based on the assumption that individuals eligible for CSR plans with a more moderate cost-sharing element (73 percent AV), as well as those who are enrolled in silver plans but not eligible for CSR, would move to bronze or gold plans rather than subsidize those enrollees eligible for higher CSR. To compensate for the added cost to insurers of the reduced cost-sharing, the federal governments makes payments directly to insurance companies. That's because they are at the center of an ongoing court battle, originally between Republicans in the House and the Obama administration.

A district court judge previous year ruled in favor of the House, finding the subsidies were illegal and must stop. The Trump Justice Department has not yet signaled whether it would continue the appeal begun by its predecessor. But here's another negotiation tactic: Don't rescind the payments immediately.

Those 90 days run out on August 21.

On a day he will try - again - to reset his embattled presidency, Donald Trump kicked off Monday by again threatening lawmakers' health insurance.

"I'm only interested in what passes", said Ken Provencher, CEO of PacificSource.

Other insurers in Tennessee, Hawaii, North Dakota, and are New Mexico are pursuing increases at 20 percent or higher.

"Telling those insurers who are already contractually bound to provide coverage through the rest of 2017 that CSRs won't exist makes it very, very hard for us, as regulators, to ask them to find contracts to ante up for 2018", McPeak said.

"A decision by the federal government is needed in the next few weeks", Lee said in a statement.

Amid all the uncertainty, insurers are running out of time to plan for next year. But if CSR payments were guaranteed, it would be "something like a flat increase across all plans".

McPeak said she would like to see states have more flexibility to deal with high-risk populations of patients than is now permitted under the Affordable Care Act.

BCBS Arizona provides insurance on the exchanges in all but two counties in the state. On Wednesday, Anthem, the second-largest insurer in the USA, said it might leave more markets in 2018.

"BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies" certainly sounds like the sort of thing that most Americans would oppose, and, by suggesting that Obamacare necessarily means giving handouts to insurers, Trump and his team clearly hope to shift the tide of popular opinion back in their direction.

She argues that by assuring continuation of the subsidies, Trump has the ability to stabilize insurance markets around the county and lower insurance costs for consumers.



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