President Trump has told advisers he wants to end insurer subsidies for Obamacare, a move that could create turmoil in the health insurance markets, as multiple news outlets reported Friday.
According to the Washington Examiner, Trump told White House aides during a Tuesday meeting that he wanted to end cost-sharing reduction payments, which help insurance companies reduce deductibles and co-pays for an estimated 7 million low-income consumers, reports Politico.
Several senior officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, have opposed the proposal to end insurer subsidies, fearing it could backfire in the individual market and could discourage insurers from participating next year.
In fact, some insurers have already threatened to leave the Obamacare exchanges or raise prices without the payments, though a final decision has not been reached by the administration.
If more insurance companies pull out of the Obamacare markets, it could further destabilize the market and reduce competition even more in states that already have few options available for consumers.
Trump originally stated that he wanted to see what happens to his healthcare bill before making a decision to continue the payments long-term.
The American Health Care Act passed the House by a 217-213 margin and is waiting to be sent to the Senate for approval.
Insurers have been reportedly pressing the White House for a decision on the cost-sharing payments for 2018, as they prepare plans for next year. Many states are also up against a June deadline to send in rates.
The administration’s official decision on the cost-sharing subsidies could be revealed on Monday, when they are required to inform the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia how it wants to resolve a 2014 lawsuit the House Republicans brought against the Obama administration, citing the White House was making the payments without congressional approval. It is also possible a 90-day hold on the case could be granted, says the report.
“The White House has told Congress that it will make the May CSR, but has not made any commitment on further payments,” a White House official told the Washington Examiner. “No final decisions have been made at this time, and all options are on the table.”
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