Recently, there’s been news coverage of the Trump Administration’s latest attempts to undercut enrollment in the exchanges by cutting many of the outreach, education, and enrollment activities that took place during prior open enrollment periods. But these are merely new tactics in the administration’s ongoing effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These tactics—some questionable in their legality—are unlikely to stop before the next open enrollment period.
Following the failed effort in the Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there are encouraging signs that members on both sides of the aisle are coming together to find bipartisan solutions to the most pressing challenge facing our health care system: stabilizing our health insurance markets amid significant regulatory and political uncertainty.
Bipartisan efforts that set aside ACA repeal and substantial cuts to the Medicaid program are essential to ensuring high quality, affordable health care for all. To successfully address the challenges facing the individual market, a stabilization package needs to focus on reducing uncertainty, holding down premiums, and bolstering enrollment.
After the most recent collapse of Senate efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, see an opening for bipartisan health reform. Rather than take insurance away from tens of millions of Americans through sweeping legislation rushed through on a straight party-line vote, some lawmakers now propose to stabilize health insurance markets through careful, bipartisan policymaking.
To help people who currently receive health coverage through the individual insurance market, a well-constructed stabilization package could slow the rise of premiums, guarantee financial assistance, and increase the availability of meaningful health insurance options.
For months, President Trump has been threatening to cancel so-called called “cost-sharing reduction” payments, or CSRs. This is apparently part of his brazen strategy to “implode” health insurance marketplaces and force Democrats to negotiate about the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) future. CSR payments cover insurers’ cost of lowering deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for almost 6 million marketplace enrollees in low-wage, working families.
On August 15, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its analysis of what would happen if CSR payments were eliminated.
Iowa has asked the federal government to approve a proposal to make troubling changes to its marketplace that will increase coverage costs for low- and middle-income Iowans. It essentially takes federal funds intended to help people afford the cost of health insurance and uses them to pay insurance companies and to offer subsidies to relatively high-income people. The risky and harmful proposal fails to meet key requirements and should be rejected.