Trump administration freezes Obamacare funds


Trump administration freezes Obamacare funds

The Trump administration said Saturday that it is temporarily halting billions of dollars of payments created to help insurers meet the Affordable Care Act requirement that they provide coverage regardless of whether a person is healthy or sick. "This action will significantly increase 2019 premiums for millions of individuals and small business owners and could result in far fewer health plan choices".

At stake are billions in payments to insurers with sicker customers.

This follows a reduction announced by the CMS last August from $62.5 million, along with an even bigger cut to advertising for enrollment, and represents the latest in a series of moves to weaken the ACA by the administration of President Donald Trump. Instead, the federal government collects money from some insurers that enrolled healthier patients and then transfers money to other insurers who had sicker enrollees.

The move should not have been unexpected given the administration's disdain for other provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), leading to the elimination of other key taxpayer-funded subsidies and the outright eradication of the individual mandate through this past winter's tax cut legislation.

The idea behind the program is to remove the financial incentive for insurers to "cherry pick" healthier customers. Last fall President Trump signed an executive order expanding access to association health plans and short-term limited-duration insurance.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcConnell to meet with Trump's Supreme Court pick Tuesday Kavanaugh offers lengthy judicial record ahead of bitter confirmation fight Hundreds protest Kavanaugh's nomination outside Supreme Court MORE canceled key ObamaCare payments previous year, and also slashed the budget for advertising ObamaCare insurance. The CMS makes risk-adjustment payments to insurers to help encourage them to participate in the marketplace and offset the costs of enrolling more expensive - high risk - people in insurance pools.

However, the trade group America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) said in a statement that the recent move would lead to uncertainty and increase premiums, putting the burden on small businesses and consumers.

Health insurers and Covered California officials are facing another curveball from the Trump administration on the Affordable Care Act that could rattle the insurance market.

The CMS statement said the agency has asked the New Mexico court to reconsider its decision and expressed hope for a prompt resolution of the issue. Obamacare's mandated coverage of many items that most people don't need is the real problem. About 20 million Americans have received health insurance coverage through the programme. Health law experts are...

Insurance is normally based on risk, with premiums costing more for clients who are expected to require more healthcare services.