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Trump to Withhold Payments to Obamacare Insurers, Costing Them Billions and Further Crippling the Program

The Trump administration on Monday announced another nail in the coffin of Obamacare, declaring it would withhold the payment of risk-adjusted premiums to insurers.

The move should not have been unexpected given the administration’s disdain for other provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), leading to the elimination of other key taxpayer-funded subsidies and the outright eradication of the individual mandate through this past winter’s tax cut legislation.

The move sent shock waves through the insurance industry, which claimed that such market disruption could have near-immediate consequences for insured populations.

The announcement was made by Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and was precipitated by a New Mexico court ruling that suggested the calculations for the risk-adjusted premiums were flawed even despite a Massachusetts ruling that validated them.

The outcome of the decision could send premiums soaring and insurers running for the exits on the ACA exchanges. Some studious observers have noticed that the potential outcomes are intentional — dismantling Obama’s landmark program from the very foundations:

As reported in The New York Times, the payments seemed designed to benefit larger insurers. The prior administration had assumed incorrectly that the payments and collections would offset and would leave no net obligation to the federal government. This may not be the case.

The news comes on the heels of many predicting better days for insurers in the ACA markets. With premium increases on the horizon, they expected what has been a volatile market to stabilize. This announcement changes things.

In what now seems a rather prophetic statement, a senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation cited the government involvement as the major factor in keeping the market from stabilizing.

“If not for the still significant political and legal uncertainty, we’d be seeing a very robust market right now,” Larry Levitt of Kaiser told The Hill.

The risk-adjusted premium pool takes money from healthier patients paying for health care and redistributes it to the less healthy, more needy patients to pay for higher premiums.

While some may say this means no government money is involved, this ignores the concern expressed in the New Mexico court decision. It also negates the fact that those healthy people were not willing participants in the pool until this year.

The bottom line is that the Trump administration is making good on its promise to rid Americans of Obamacare, with or without the help of the legislature.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Dean Perry

    July 11, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Trump has no empathy… and didn’t he lie last year that the ACA was gone and yet HERE IT IS!!!

  2. drumlina

    July 11, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    Why was this communist program even a thing in the first place? And yes it is communist when your country’s leader mandates you buy it when you don’t have other (better) options.

  3. Bill

    July 11, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Hello, McFry! Are you an idito? President Trump did all he could to get rid of ACA. The Republicans were scared of loosing their seats, so they abandoned Trump on this issue. If he could void the ACA with an Executive Order, he would have done that on DAY 1 of his presidency. Law can only be overturned by Congress. If you know your history, you would have known that. At least he has kept 5 or 6 of his promises (in his first two years alone) that he made on the campaign trail. I can’t recall Obama keeping 5 of his promises during his whole 8 years in office. HUGE DIFFERENCE!

    As for empathy, do you know why they do DNA checks on the kids at the border? To make sure the kids belong to the parents. Do you want these kids, who are often coming alone, given to anybody just because? Do you know that sex trafficking is huge at the border? Look at what the new president of Mexico is doing. He is taking a stance on human trafficking as well!

    • paulette barrow

      July 12, 2018 at 1:03 am

      @BILL,EXACTLY,OBAMA GAVE A BUNCH OF THOSE KIDS TO SEX TRAFFICKERS WHEN HE PLAYED PRESIDENT,DEAN IS NOT VERY BRIGHT WHEN IT COMES TO WHATS REALLY GOING ON

  4. paulette barrow

    July 12, 2018 at 1:01 am

    THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN CARE OF IF McCAIN HAD NOT GIVEN TRUMP THE MIDDLE FINGER BY THUMBS DOWN MOVEMENT AFTER SAYING YES,IT WAS A VERY NASTY MOVE ON McCAINS PART

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