Jun. 12: Rep. Brady Advocates Funding For ACA Subsidies To Insurers

Rep. Brady Advocates Funding For ACA Subsidies To Insurers.
The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/8, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports that on Thursday, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said at a hearing that “Congress should immediately provide” funding for Affordable Care Act subsidies to insurance companies, “which have been demanding big rate increases or fleeing from Affordable Care Act markets because of President Trump’s threat to cut off the funds.” Brady stated, “We should act within our constitutional authority now to temporarily and legally fund cost-sharing reduction payments as we move away from Obamacare. … Insurers have made clear the lack of certainty is causing 2018 proposed premiums to rise significantly.”

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May 26: GOP Senators Acknowledge CBO Score Complicates Efforts To Repeal AC

The AP (5/25, Fram, Alonso-Zaldivar) reports that on Wednesday, GOP senators conceded that “a scathing analysis of the House GOP health care bill had complicated their effort to dismantle” the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) said, “It makes everything harder and more difficult.” For his part, Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA) stated, “There’s blinking yellow lights throughout the whole thing.” The article says that on Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis which concluded that some 23 million Americans would lost healthcare coverage by 2026 if the American Health Care Act became law.

CBO Analysis Suggests Individual Market Would Become Unstable In Red States If AHCA Became Law. The Washington Post (5/25, Ehrenfreund) reports that on Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office unveiled “its assessment of the latest version of House Republicans health-care bill…and if Republicans were hoping for big changes this time around, they didn’t get them.” The article says 23 million Americans would loss coverage under the revised AHCA, compared to 24 million under the previous version. The article adds that what Republicans “got instead is a new sentence in” the analysis “that could be particularly alarming for GOP policymakers.” According to the CBO, “about one-sixth of the population resides in areas in which the nongroup market would start to become unstable beginning in 2020.” This means that the individual market would become unstable in red states.

May 23: Trump Administration Asks For Another Delay In Lawsuit Over ACA Subsidies

The New York Times (5/22, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports on Monday, the Trump Administration requested that a federal appeals court “delay ruling on a lawsuit that could determine whether the government will continue paying subsidies under the Affordable Care Act to health insurance companies for the benefit of low-income people,” thus “prolonging uncertainty that is already rattling the health law.” The Times says this move “could further destabilize insurance markets just as insurers are developing rates and deciding whether to participate in 2018.” The article adds that insurers have warned that eliminating ACA subsidies could result in premium hikes of 15 percent to 20 percent.

The Washington Post (5/22, Goldstein) reports that once again, House GOP lawmakers and the Administration “are asking for another postponement in a federal-court case over subsidies that help 7 million Americans with Affordable Care Act health plans cover deductibles and copays – a move that heightens the limbo for insurers in the law’s marketplaces.” The parties requested a 90-day extension in a Monday filing. This marks the third straight request for postponement, and it “means that the government will continue to provide the ‘cost-sharing reductions’ through at least much of the summer.”

USA Today (5/22, O’Donnell) reports House GOP lawmakers had sued the Obama Administration over subsidy payments to insurers, alleging they were unconstitutional because Congress had not appropriated the funds. A lower court ruled in favor of the House, but the Obama Administration appealed the decision.

The Wall Street Journal (5/22, Armour, Radnofsky, Subscription Publication) reports that the delay will not do much to reduce uncertainty regarding ACA marketplaces, and President Trump could still decide to eliminate the subsidies.