Hardball health care option may cost Trump and taxpayers

Study Trump's hardball tactic on health care may backfire
Hardball health care option may cost Trump and taxpayers
Author

27 April, 2017

The administration just might eliminate billions of dollars in disputed "Obamacare" subsidies.

The potential amendment was brokered by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who heads the conservative House Freedom Caucus and Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., a leader of the moderate House Tuesday Group. However, a Kaiser Family Foundation report found that high-risk pools have proven costly for states and individuals and left many people with preexisting conditions uncovered. These payments amount to $7 billion for the current fiscal year, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate. Study co-author Gary Claxton said more people could enroll because more people could get a bronze plan for free, or all the news coverage about making Obamacare less generous could drive people away. Claxton said "there's a good chance" that Congress will do that, but added: "I don't know".

Because, under Obamacare, the federal government also offers subsidies to consumers between 100-400 percent of the poverty line for their individual premiums, and those subsidy levels rise and fall with the average premium for a certain plan, much of that increase in premiums would be picked up by the government.

When House members return from their Easter recess on April 25, they are expected to focus on a must-pass bill to keep the federal government funded beyond April 28. Tell them the Republican AHCA fails to help those who need it most to gain access to affordable health care.

Congress could clear up the issue by appropriating the money in the pending budget bill to keep the government running and avoid a partial shutdown by this weekend. That means, if Republicans moved forward with money for Trump's wall, it would likely tank the bill and potentially shut down the government.

Or the new administration could appeal the district judge's ruling, as the Obama administration had planned.

Egypt president in Saudi Arabia to reaffirm ties
Security forces lined the streets of central Riyadh over the weekend, although no demonstrations appeared to materialize. The Tadawul All Share Index climbed as much as 1.7 percent, before paring the gain to 1 percent at the close in Riyadh.

With no resolution, the situation has compounded uncertainty over the ultimate fate of "Obamacare".

Ryan's insistence that the vote count will dictate timing of new health care legislation seemingly contradicts the assertion of some in the White House - including President Donald Trump himself - that health care reform might happen next week.

By law, insurers are obligated to provide the assistance even if government repayment isn't guaranteed. Without the money, insurers might just bail out of the program altogether. Those include one that now requires insurers to cover specified services such as for mental health, and one that bars them from raising premiums on seriously ill patients. Premiums are subsidized separately, and there is no legal dispute about those payments. Part of the reason overall government spending would increase is that many more people get subsidized premiums than receive cost-sharing assistance. Those states tend to be Republican-led and supportive of Trump in last year's election.

"Either this ends up costing the federal government more money, or there's chaos that leads to people losing their health insurance", said the Kaiser Foundation's Levitt.

Here's another problem for all those Republicans, and in particular popular vote loser Donald Trump: "nearly 8 in 10 (79 percent) say [Trump] should try to make the ACA work as well as possible, including roughly 6 in 10 Republicans and 8 in 10 independents".


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