It hardly matters that no tax money is used in these payments, the concept was flawed from the start.
The U.S. agency that administers Obamacare is freezing payments to insurers that cover sicker patients, saying a federal court ruling ties its hands. The payments work this way: The government takes money from insurers with healthier, low-risk customers, and gives it to insurers with less-healthy, higher-risk customers.
The Trump administration is eliminating most of the funding for grass-roots groups that help Americans get Affordable Care Act insurance and will for the first time urge the groups to promote health plans that bypass the law's consumer protections and required benefits.
We're all getting priced out of the health insurance market and the combination of these actions will raise premiums for comprehensive health insurance even more, especially for those who have pre-existing conditions.
Risk adjustment is a key aspect of market stabilization under the ACA, also known as Obamacare.
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The outcome of the decision could send premiums soaring and insurers running for the exits on the ACA exchanges.
At stake are billions in payments to insurers with sicker customers.
"People spin the administration's decision as Trump trying to do harm, but it's exactly the opposite", he added. It's a move that could shake up insurance markets. "That will increase competition, and competition will help keep prices down".
The Trump administration's move "will significantly increase 2019 premiums for millions of individuals and small business owners and could result in far fewer health plan choices", association president Scott Serota said in a statement.
"We are very discouraged by the new market disruption brought about by the decision to freeze risk adjustment payments", AHIP stated.
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Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer Jr. said that as of now he doesn't expect the latest decision to interrupt the state's rate-setting process.
Similarly, a year ago the Trump administration ended Obamacare's cost-sharing reduction payments to health insurers. The Department of Health and Human Services is finishing another rule that will broaden the use of short-term insurance plans, originally intended as a brief bridge for people between jobs. "In light of this analysis, the Government can not lawfully make the cost-sharing reduction payments", the White House said after ending the payments in October 2017.
Obamacare's defenders see the promotion of those plans, and the navigator cuts, as a way to sabotage President Obama's signature domestic achievement. On the same day, Minuteman Health, Inc. filed a similar complaint in district court in MA.
A federal court in MA upheld the same allocation formula in January.
Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Seema Verma said the Trump administration was disappointed by a New Mexico court ruling that questioned the workings of the risk program for insurers.
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