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Trump administration takes another hit on "Obamacare"



The Trump administration said on Saturday that it was freezing payments under an "Obamacare" program to protect insurers with ill patients from financial losses, which should lead to premium increases next year.

At stake are billions in insurers

In a weekend announcement, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that the administration is acting on complaints from some smaller insurers over conflicting court rulings, wondering if they are eligible under the program be treated fairly.

The so-called "Risk Adjustment" program accepts payments from insurers to healthier customers and distributes this money to companies with lower aspirants. Payments for 201

7 amount to $ 10.4 billion. There are no subsidies for taxpayers.

The idea behind the program is to eliminate the financial incentive for insurers to "select" healthier customers. The government uses a similar approach with Medicare private insurance plans and the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Large insurers said Saturday the administration's action is disrupting a program that works well.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, whose members are a mainstay of the Affordable Care Act reporting, said it was "extremely disappointed" about the government's actions.

The Trump government's move in 2019 will significantly increase premiums for millions of individuals and small business owners and lead to far fewer health plan decisions. "Association president Scott Serota said in a statement," It will undermine Americans' access to affordable coverage, especially those in need of medical care most. "

Serota noted that the payments were required by law and said he Believing that the administration has the legal authority to continue to make it legal cases, he warned against "riots" as insurers close their installments for 2019.

America's health insurance companies, the main group of the health insurance industry, said in a statement that they The Trump Government's decision to freeze payments is "very discouraged."

"The cost to taxpayers will increase as the federal government spends more on premium subsidies," the group said.

Rumors that the Trump's government would freeze payments, circulated late last week, but the Saturday email message was unusual ch for such a big step.

The government argued in its announcement that their hands were bound by conflicting court decisions in New Mexico and Massachusetts.

Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Seema Verma said trump card The government was disappointed by a court ruling in New Mexico that challenged the functioning of the insurer's risk program.

The government "has asked the court to rethink its decision and hopes for a swift resolution that can more (prevent the government) negatively impact Americans who receive their insurance in the retail and small-market markets," said you.

More than 10 million people are currently buying individual health insurance through HealthCare.gov and government insurance marketplaces. The vast majority of these clients receive taxpayer subsidies under the Obama Health Bill and would be shielded from premium increases next year.

The brunt of higher prices would be solid middle-class consumers who are not eligible for income. based subsidies. Many of them are self-employed and small business owners, who are generally considered to be Republican constituents.

The latest "Obamacare" flare-up does not affect most people with employer coverage.


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