Maps Show A Dramatic Rise Health In Insurance Coverage Under ACA
Apr 20 2017 by Kathy Alvarado
The calls came after Trump threatened to cancel insurer reimbursements - which would eliminate health insurance for millions of poorer Americans - to force Democrats to come to the table to negotiate health care reform.
Insurers, doctors, hospitals and the business community have asked the Trump administration to preserve "cost-sharing" subsidies that help reduce the impact of high deductibles and copayments for consumers with modest incomes.
Even if Republicans can't find a way to repeal Obamacare, they may still have a way to deliver on President Trump's promise that the law will "explode" - all via the power of uncertainty.
After House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) dropped a repeal-and-replace bill favored by Mr.Trump and GOP congressional leadership, the quixotic effort to end Obamacare seemed to be over. So Thursday's action was meant to keep the existing system going even as Republicans pursue a total remake.
Insurers are reeling from regulatory changes to the individual insurance market that they say will lower revenue and does nothing to address their biggest financial concerns.
It has been the subject of extended negotiations involving the White House and both parties in Congress, aimed at removing "poison pills" that might produce a deadlock, a Senate Democratic filibuster, and a government shutdown. These are separate from the better-known so-called premium subsidies that most customers receive.
"There is still too much instability and uncertainty in this market", Marilyn Tavenner, president of America's Health Insurance Plans and the industry's top lobbyist, said in a statement. Most urgently, health plans and the consumers they serve need to know that funding for cost-sharing reduction subsidies will continue uninterrupted.
Major medical and insurance groups sent a letter to President Trump on Wednesday urging him to maintain funding for the subsidies, which amount to about $7 billion a year and are paid directly to insurers.
The cost-sharing payments are the less well-known part of the financial help that the Affordable Care Act provides, but the support is baked into the plans bought by more than half of the 12.2 million people insured through the exchanges.
In a Wall Street Journal interview this week, Trump raised the possibility of shutting off the money if Democrats won't bargain on health care.
"It's a snapshot cost, in the sense that there are other costs obviously involved that we could get, but the government just doesn't want to give it to us or they keep secret for some reason", Fitton says.
The federal government continues to make payments to insurers while the Republicans' lawsuit, filed against the Obama administration, is in limbo. The annual enrollment period for 2018 Affordable Care Act plans will begin November 1, 2017, and end only six weeks later on December 15.
Curbs on "special enrollment periods" that allow consumers to sign up outside the normal open enrollment window.
"There has to be an awareness that it costs money to go down there, and they should justify the cost or explain to the American people why it's necessary", he says.
Allowing insurers to require people to pay past-due premiums before enrolling in a new plan with the same insurer the following year.
Medica spokesman Greg Bury offered a slightly more optimistic statement from the Minnesota-based insurer that sells plans on the Affordable Care Act exchange in Kansas.
Consumers likely won't know for certain what sort of choices they will have until late summer or early fall, a couple months before open enrollment begins.
There are now 20 million Americans, many of them low income, who have health care for the first time because of Obamacare.