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Former Health Connector Head On Trump's Ending Of ACA Subsidies

Former Health Connector Head On Trump's Ending Of ACA Subsidies

By canceling Affordable Care Act subsidies for low-income Americans this week, President Donald Trump might be undermining the health law known as Obamacare in some states. The number underscores the political risk for Trump and his party, which could end up owning the blame for increased costs and chaos in the insurance marketplace.

"Obamacare is so screwed up and so expensive, and it's especially bad for people who don't get subsidies". People who benefit will continue receiving the discounts because insurers are obligated by law to provide them. "They have a lot of leverage in controlling a lot of payments for health insurers". So, some might decide to bail.

"I woke up, really, in horror", said Alice Thompson, 62, an environmental consultant from the Milwaukee area who purchases insurance on Wisconsin's federally run health insurance exchange. It's funded a separate health program, called the Essential Plan, for those too poor for Medicaid but not rich enough to afford to pay regular health care premiums.

Those 11 insurers have committed to remain on the exchange through the end of 2018 and have already set their 2018 premium rates.

"You don't need to be from New Jersey to know a protection racket when you see one", said Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-Paterson.

Some of Trump's actions could have an immediate effect on the enrollment for 2018 ACA coverage that starts November 1. Among his suggestions to the department are broadening rules to allow more small employers and other groups to form what are known as "association health plans" and to sell low-priced, short-term insurance. Its new governor, a Republican, favors the GOP stance to replace it with something else. Without the cost-sharing subsidies, insurers will be more inclined to stop selling on the exchanges - leaving consumers with fewer health plans to choose from and, perhaps, steeper premium spikes. Despite the gains from Obama's law, the state went for Trump last fall even as he vowed to repeal it.

A poll released Friday by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 71 percent of the public said they preferred that the Trump administration try to make the law work rather than to hasten replacement by encouraging its failure.

Sherry Riggs has a similar fear. NY stands to lose more than $870 million in subsidies.

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She had bypass surgery following a heart attack a year ago and pays just $10 a visit to see her cardiologist and only a few dollars for the medications she takes twice a day.

Here's where it gets complicated: Those standard plans are also the benchmark the federal government uses to calculate the second Obamacare subsidy that reduces monthly premiums for consumers earning up to four times the federal poverty level.

To make up for the loss, Obamacare insurers in Florida raised premiums by 45 percent on average for next year.

"There's not a rational policy basis for doing what he's doing", she said. "I think it's kind of a tragic decision on the president's part". Those are not affected by Trump's decision.

But the roughly 60,000 people who buy silver plans without the help of federal premium subsidies will have to pay the 25 percent premium increase themselves or switch to another plan. Over the next decade, the CBO reported, the federal government would save $118 billion by canceling the cost-sharing subsidies - but spend an additional $365 billion for the increase in premium subsidies.

The order directs the federal government to consider ways for more people to buy health insurance plans that are exempt from numerous ACA protections - such as the requirement that health plans cover "essential health benefits", including maternity and mental health care, and the prohibition against charging people different premiums based on their health status.

Trump's move concerned some Republicans, anxious the party will be blamed for the effects on consumers and insurance markets. "No", Mulvaney said in an interview with Politico on Friday.

The subsidies will cost about $7 billion this year. An estimated 78,000 Arizonans were benefiting from the federal subsidies for deductibles and co-pays. It also helps to keep health costs affordable for middle-class Americans.

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