Insurers push back against Trump's cuts to ObamaCare subsidies
- Autor: Leon Brazil Oct 13, 2017,
Oct 13, 2017, 19:53
The decision is the most dramatic action President Trump has taken yet to weaken the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, which extended insurance to 20 million Americans.
The order allows for a broader interpretation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which could, according to a White House statement, "potentially allow employers in the same line of business anywhere in the country to join together to offer health care coverage to their employees", in addition to expanding coverage through short-term and low-priced limited duration insurance (STLDI).
Whether Trump's executive order will be the play that breaks through isn't clear. "The claim before we saw any of this was that it was going to make affordable coverage available to tens of millions of people". They come after Trump was unsuccessful multiple times in getting the program repealed via Congress.
"Ending the CSR payments is another sign that President Trump is doing what he can to undermine the stability of the individual market under the ACA", wrote Tim Jost, professor emeritus of law at Washington and Lee University who contributes to the Health Affairs blog.
'Make no mistake about it, @POTUS will try to blame the Affordable Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it'.
House Speaker Paul Ryan on the other hand praised the president's decision.
The Obama administration had, for years, reimbursed insurers for the cost of the discounts despite the fact that the Republican-led Congress refused to specifically authorize that spending. "Under our Constitution", Mr. Ryan said, "the power of the purse belongs to Congress, not the executive branch".
Sign-up season for subsidized private insurance starts November 1, in less than three weeks, with about 9 million people now covered. It's unclear whether any new rule changes could be ready for implementation within that timeframe.
Strongly pro-life Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-North Carolina, was also with Trump as he signed the order.
They mean that someone who would normally face a deductible of $2,000 or more would potentially have no deductible.
Levitt said association health plans and short-term health insurance policies could be designed to lure healthier people away from the state insurance markets created by the Obama health law. They also could be subject to limits on annual and lifetime costs, and people with preexisting conditions could be charged more for their coverage. "Costs will go up and choices will be restricted", the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and America's Health Insurance Plans said in a joint statement.
The cost-sharing payments have been at the center of a political battle over the Affordable Care Act since before Trump took office. Congressional Republicans have moved on from health care, and are now focusing on tax cuts.
"Small to midsize businesses have very little leverage in the insurance market", Van Dongen said.