undergroundnewsroom.com April 26, 2018

Premiums Will Spike If Trump Undermines ACA

18 August 2017, 01:12 | Rodolfo Quinn

A sign identifeis the offices of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office

A sign identifeis the offices of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office

That's so because insurers would still be required to hold down deductibles and co-payments for low- and moderate-income consumers.

Insurers have already cited uncertainty surrounding the funding as a reason for big premium increases for 2018. The panel will begin hearings on stabilizing the marketplace the first week of September. The case has been delayed for months, and it's possible another delay could occur.

Premiums for the most popular health insurance plans would shoot up 20 percent next year, and federal budget deficits would increase by $194 billion in the coming decade, if President Trump carried out his threat to end certain subsidies paid to insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

President Trump's move could also cause people to buy cheaper insurance outside of the exchanges or downgrade their insurance plan from, say, silver to bronze. However, this will only happen if the threats by President Trump to cut some subsidies that usually go to the insurance companies are implemented. Some insurers have pulled out of the individual market, notably Anthem Blue Cross. Because of the automatic subsidy alluded to above that would kick in should premiums rise many low-income individuals would receive a different subsidy in lieu of the one that they're now receiving if they're receiving a subsidy from the online exchanges presently.

It is unclear whether the federal government played a role in providing incentives to insurers to offer plans in bare counties, many of which were at risk because Anthem Inc, one of the largest remaining Obamacare insurers, pared back its offerings in several states, said Cox.

The cancellation of subsidies could lead some insurers to withdraw from the program, potentially leaving 5 percent of Americans living in areas with no insurance options for 2018 - although within two years, CBO said, insurers should be able to adjust to the change.

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Leading Republican lawmakers have called for continuing the payments, at least temporarily, to ensure market stability.

This is the type of plan that consumers must buy in order to qualify for cost-sharing subsidies.

Trump, peeved about the failure of his fellow Republicans in the Senate to pass an Obamacare replacement bill had threatened to end CSR payments to insurers.

"I think the government - Congress and administration, has treated [insurance companies] shamefully", Timothy Jost, emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, told ThinkProgress. A judge for the federal district court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the Republicans, and the Obama administration appealed the ruling. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is working on such legislation.

Even though the government is expected to spend $7 billion on CSRs in 2017 and $10 billion in 2018, the 20% rise in silver plan premiums in 2018 that would result from terminating the CSRs would more than offset the end of CSR payments.

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