Uncertainty over the future of health care is growing deeper for millions of Americans who buy their own policies. While insurers released a blueprint yesterday for stabilizing wobbly markets, the Trump administration is leaving in limbo billions of dollars in federal subsidy payments. The administration and House Republicans have asked a federal appeals court for a 90-day extension in a case that involves federal payments to reduce deductibles and copayments for people with modest incomes who buy their own policies.
The fate of $7 billion in “cost-sharing subsidies” remains under a cloud as insurers finalize their premium requests for next year. Experts say premiums could jump about 20 per cent without the funding. In requesting the extension, lawyers for the Trump administration and the House said the parties are continuing to work on measures, “including potential legislative action,” to resolve the issue. Requests for extensions are usually granted routinely.
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But Democrats are accusing the Trump administration of a cynical ploy. Hours before the filing, a major insurer group released a framework for market stability that relies in part on a continuation of subsidies.
The BlueCross BlueShield Association represents plans that are the backbone of insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, and would also be the mainstay with a Republican approach.
As the GOP-led Congress works on rolling back major parts of the Obama law, the BlueCross BlueShield plan called for: â€”Continued protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and sustained federal funding to offset the cost of care for the sickest patients.
More leeway for states to experiment with health insurance benefits, with a basic floor of federal standards.
Preserving ACA consumer safeguards including no lifetime caps on benefits, no higher premium for women based on gender, and a requirement that insurers spend a minimum of 80 cents of every premium dollar on medical care.
Penalties such as waiting periods for people who fail to maintain their coverage. Republicans want to repeal the Obama-era tax penalties on uninsured people deemed able to afford coverage.