Trump admin moves to stabilize market for Obamacare exchanges while repeal effort in the works

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 by

In a recent interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo, President Donald J. Trump discussed, among other things, the fact that the Obamacare repeal-and-replace effort was being misreported: It’s not at all “dead,” but rather negotiations between the White House and Congress are ongoing.

“It’s what I do,” Trump said. The interview is below.

In the meantime, as he also predicted it would, Obamacare is indeed imploding, as insurers one by one bail out of the Obamacare statewide exchanges after losing hundreds of millions of dollars over the past few years, for a variety of reasons – a trend which actually began almost four years ago. (RELATED: Collapse: Anthem announces it will exit Obamacare markets this year, leaving millions of Americans with no provider choice)

As The Hill reports, costs for consumers are spiraling out of control:

As a result, networks have narrowed, premiums have soared an average of 75 percent, and annual deductibles above $12,000 are now common for family plans. Four of the five largest insurers have sharply cut back on their exchange participation, and there are currently only 12 million enrollees — 11 million fewer than were initially estimated for 2017.

Worse, the administration faces another dilemma, this one brought about by congressional Republicans: A legal case involving government reimbursement payments to insurers that one federal court has already ruled were unconstitutional. The Obama administration appealed the court’s decision, but it didn’t get to court before the Nov. 8 election. Since then, Republicans asked for and received a hearing delay, and last week the president threatened to cut off the reimbursement to insurers if Democrats continued refusing to help negotiate a repeal-and-replace measure. As Lifezette reported, without the reimbursements, Obamacare exchanges would collapse quickly.

But following a meeting with health insurance CEOs in the White House in February, the Trump administration announced new rules this week aimed at bringing some stability to the market for insurers while the administration and Congress negotiate new repeal legislation. As Breitbart News reported, the rules are designed to keep insurers in the exchanges and keep them from being forced to raise rates once again next year.

They include:

— Cutting the sign-up period for the exchanges next year in half, giving Americans from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 to sign up;

— Requiring consumers who are signing up to show proof that they qualify – a rule aimed at reducing the number of people who only enroll in coverage when they are sick;

— Giving insurers the right to require consumers to pay their past-due premiums before they are allowed to sign up for a new plan with the same insurance company the next year;

— Permitting insurance companies to offer plans that contain fewer options than mandated under current Health and Human Services rules – a move also aimed at tailoring plans to an individuals’ or family’s needs, which should also help lower premiums and deductibles. (RELATED: Fear of the voter: GOP leaders bullish again on repealing Obamacare)

Breitbart News reported further:

Insurance companies cheered the new rule but cautioned that they will wait to see how the Trump administration will handle Obamacare’s insurance reimbursements.

Insurers threatened to raise premiums or leave the Obamacare exchanges if they no longer receive the Obamacare reimbursements for offering discounted deductibles and copayments for lower-income Americans.

For now, the administration plans to continue the cost-sharing subsidies for consumers but had not said whether Trump would instruct the Justice Department to continue its appeal of the lower court’s ruling the reimbursements to insurers are unconstitutional.

The thing to remember in all of this, however, is that this mess is 100-percent owned by the Democratic Party, which passed the Affordable Care Act without a single Republican vote, and Obama, who eagerly signed it. Trump and the GOP have inherited it, and they’re beginning to discover that the law was written in such a complex way so as to make it difficult to repeal.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.

Sources:

LATimes.com

Lifezette.com

YouTube.com

TheNationalSentinel.com

TheHill.com

Breitbart.com

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