Trump admin expected to suspend some ObamaCare risk adjustment payments

09 Juillet, 2018, 20:10 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • The Trump administration is taking another swipe at Obamacare by suspending payments to insurance companies

The mainstream media report offered more criticism from supporters of the Affordable Care Act. Hoover Institution research fellow Lanhee Chen with more.

The Trump administration is halting billions of dollars of payments to insurers under the Affordable Care Act's risk-adjustment program, a move that further disrupts the insurance market and could lead to more premium increases next year.

"Any action to stop disbursements under the risk adjustment program will significantly increase 2019 premiums for millions of individuals and small-business owners, and could result in far fewer health plan choices", said Justine G. Handelman, a senior vice president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Insurance stocks may be a focus in Monday morning's trading.

The risk adjustment program plays an important role in the ACA by pooling risk for insurers, transferring funds from insurers who enroll healthier members for relatively less, to those that take on higher costs in order to enroll sicker members.

President Donald Trump's administration has used its regulatory powers to undermine Obamacare after the Republican-controlled Congress previous year failed to repeal and replace the law.

Many Trump followers often cheer cuts to Obamacare, not knowing that the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are one in the same. About 20 million Americans have received health insurance coverage through the program known as Obamacare.

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Citing conflicting federal court decisions on the program, the CMS said it can not collect or disburse funds under the risk-adjustment program.

The New Mexico ruling found fault with the formula used by the government to calculate the payments, saying it was "arbitrary and capricious".

"We were disappointed by the court's recent ruling", Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers the program, told The Wall Street Journal in a statement.

Late a year ago, it said it would halt so-called cost-sharing payments, which offset some out-of-pocket healthcare costs for low-income patients.

Officials said Saturday that the administration is acting because of conflicting rulings in lawsuits filed by some smaller insurers who question whether they're being fairly treated.

It has also scaled back the advertising budget for Obamacare healthcare plans during the open-enrollment period by about 90 percent.

But supporters of the ACA criticized the CMS announcement as the latest move by the Trump administration to undermine Obamacare.

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