Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Health Care Primer: The Sabotage And Retaliation Edition

Health Care Primer: The Sabotage And Retaliation Edition

But the Trump administration is hanging its decision to withhold subsidies to insurers on court decisions from New Mexico and MA which say the way those payments are handed out is too vague. Without this program, insurers might have taken on less risk in the market, especially in rural counties. Payments for 2017 are $10.4 billion.

In addition to encouraging private insurers to shun less healthy people, it will raise premiums.

In justifying the cuts, CMS said the program is an "established marketplace" heading into its sixth year, so many people are more familiar with it.

The leader of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said that the organization has the legal reason required to proceed with the payments irrespective of the New Mexico ruling.

Verma said her agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is asking the court to reconsider, but until that happens, its hands are tied. He warned of "turmoil" as insurers finalize their rates for 2019.

"We are very discouraged by the new market disruption brought about by the decision to freeze risk adjustment payments", America's Health Insurance Plans said in a statement.

"Costs for taxpayers will rise as the federal government spends more on premium subsidies", the group said.

Also last month, the Trump administration announced it was releasing rules making it easier for small businesses and self-employed individuals to buy insurance plans that do not comply with Obamacare's regulations. The administration said Saturday that it would temporarily suspend the payments because a federal judge earlier this year ruled the program's formula was flawed.

For 2018, navigators received half that amount ($36 million) and still enrolled under 1 percent of the population.

These "association health plans" are just one more facet of Trump's Obamacare sabotage, cheap plans with limited coverage meant to draw healthy people out of the Obamacare markets. Using words like "immoral" and "cold-hearted", they saw it as the Republicans' latest act of sabotage against the sweeping health law.

The brunt of higher prices would fall on solid middle-class consumers who are not eligible for the income-based subsidies.

In listing examples of the kinds of groups eligible to apply for the money that remains, the CMS did not mention the grass-roots nonprofits that have done most of this work.

The latest "Obamacare" flare-up does not affect most people with employer coverage. The administration could just as easily have listened to a judge in MA who ruled the opposite way or awaited the results of an appeal. "There is a need to analyze insurers case-by-case and account for their competitive landscapes", said Tinglong Dai, an associate professor of operations management and business analytics at the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School. Immediately after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) cast the deciding vote to block the dramatic repeal effort, Trump implored Republicans to let the law disintegrate. John McCain, R-Ariz., cast a crucial "no" vote, with a thumbs down gesture that's become a target of Trump criticism at campaign-style rallies.

Since Congress was unable to pass such legislation, Trump and his aides have been taking steps to weaken the law through administrative maneuvers.

Even so, enrollment under the health law has remained remarkably steady.

ACA enrollment has held steady at 12 million people.

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