Health care premiums to soar if Trump ends subsidies

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Health care premiums to soar if Trump ends subsidies

A White House spokesperson said Wednesday President Donald Trump will make key ObamaCare subsidy payments next month, while he makes a final decision about the ultimate future of the payments.

Thus, for example, a 40-year-old with income of $34,000 would pay about $3,350 a year - after tax credits - for a "silver plan" in 2026, but could get a more generous gold plan for several hundred dollars less, the budget office said.

The headlines were predictable: If President Trump halts Obamacare subsidies for insurance companies, the Congressional Budget Office predicts, premiums for "Silver" plans will skyrocket by 20 percent next year.

While the president has decried the payments as a "bailout" for insurers, the CBO projected that ending them would cost the government $194 billion more over the next decade. But the money is under a legal cloud because of a dispute over whether the Obama-era law properly authorized the payments.

House Republicans sued the Obama administration, arguing that under the Constitution, only Congress has the power of the purse, and that Congress was injured as an institution when the Obama administration made the payments without a clear appropriation.

The Trump administration has shown some flexibility.

The Trump administration, which took over the lawsuit, has waffled about whether it will end the subsidies or continue the appeal.

Insurance companies have been pleading with Congress and the administration to continue making CSR payments, as insurance providers are on the hook for $7 billion in CSRs in 2017 and another $10 billion in 2018. The question still rings true. Congress has never appropriated the funding for the subsidies, and every penny paid to the insurers is unlawful.

Leading Republican lawmakers have called for continuing the payments, at least temporarily, to ensure market stability.

Trump must decide by early next week whether to make next month's subsidy. These payments were essentially an agreement reached under the ACA.

Wouldn't that be a refreshing change in Washington, if the two parties would work together to improve a health care law that is generally working well and popular with the American people? This would happen because in order to qualify for the Obamacare markets, insurers would still have to provide low-income enrollees with the same level of care without those costs being offset.

Trump agreed to pay insurers on August 21, but this battle isn't over.

The next payments are due next week.

Bagley says there's no good policy reason to cut off the payments.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-WA) will hold hearings starting in September on legislation to stabilize the individual health insurance market.

A Colorado health care advocacy group has asked state regulators to restrain proposed 2018 health insurance premium increases, saying the higher rates are not justified.

In recent days, a bevy of insurers have announced significant increases for Americans who purchase their coverage on the exchanges: a minimum of 12.5 percent by Covered California, 34 percent by Anthem in Kentucky and 43.5 percent by Medica in Iowa, to name just a few.

This is a breaking story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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