Trump admin temporarily halting some payments under Obamacare program

Trump admin temporarily halting some payments under Obamacare program

President Donald Trump's administration is freezing billions of dollars in payments to health insurers under the Affordable Care Act's risk adjustment program. The vast majority of those customers receive taxpayer subsidies under the Obama-era health law and would be shielded from premium increases next year.

Insurance stocks may be a focus in Monday morning's trading. The CMS makes risk-adjustment payments to insurers to help encourage them to participate in the marketplace and offset the costs of enrolling more expensive - high risk - people in insurance pools.

Trump's administration has used its regulatory powers to undermine the ACA on multiple fronts after the Republican-controlled Congress a year ago failed to repeal and replace the law instituted by Democratic President Barack Obama.

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.

The mainstream media report offered more criticism from supporters of the Affordable Care Act.

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In the MA case, however, a federal judge upheld the Obamacare formula, the Journal reports.

The administration argued in its announcement that its hands were tied by conflicting court rulings in New Mexico and MA. "It will create more market uncertainty and increase premiums for many health plans-putting a heavier burden on small businesses and consumers, and reducing coverage options. As a result of this litigation, billions of dollars in risk adjustment payments and collections are now on hold", CMS administrator Seema Verma reportedly said in a statement. Citing conflicting federal court decisions on the program, the CMS said it can not collect or disburse funds under the risk-adjustment program. The ruling barred Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from making further collections or payments under the program, including amounts for the 2017 benefit year, until the litigation is resolved. "It moves us back to some extent to the status quo where people with pre-existing conditions found it very hard to get insurance". The program was also cut a year ago.

The news comes at a critical time for the Covered California exchange, which was set to announce rates for 2019 this month. Following the decision, CMS asked the court to reconsider its ruling.

A professor who follows Obamacare said it is unclear if the payments' suspension will result in higher premiums. Instead, the insurer referred to a statement from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

There have been winners and losers in risk adjustment. Fred Ammons, who supervises the Insure Georgia navigator organization, told the New York Times that the move will "virtually eliminate" in-person assistance for complicated Obamacare sign ups. In Maryland, Kaiser usually ends up paying CareFirst.

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