Latest Healthcare Reform News Updates II
March 12, 2018
An analysis from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says that funding the ACA’s cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies in Congress’s upcoming omnibus spending bill would “do more harm than good.”
When the CSR funding late last year was cut off, insurance companies raised premiums on ACA health insurance plans to make up for the loss of funding. Because of a “quirk” in the law’s structure, the increased premiums made the plans more affordable for lower-income Americans by increasing premium subsidy amounts (premium tax credits). According to the analysis, resuming CSR funding would reduce the premium subsidies and increase costs for subsidized enrollees.
The group believes that lower-income enrollees would be better served by blocking the call to create “skimpier, cheaper” short-term health plans, which could draw people away from ACA-compliant plans. And, funding the CSR payments now would therefore lower those subsidies and raise the costs that enrollees who qualify for subsidies must pay.
One analysis warns that “restoring CSR payments would likely harm millions of people” by raising their share of costs. The point is made that funding the CSRs would help people with incomes too high to qualify for subsidies, but it might not be enough to justify making the payments.
Other Senators wonder whether making the CSR payments is harmful. They propose to both fund the CSRs and increase the subsidies to prevent anyone’s costs from going up.
The debate continues to consider funding the CSR payments this month in the government funding bill, in addition to other stability funding known as reinsurance. Or the opposing alternative others argue that making CSR payments is still a good idea, given that it provides certainty for the market.
HHS Secretary Suggests Healthcare Options
The administration is examining allowing insurers to sell health plans that don’t meet the ACA rules. The assumption is that while remaining within the law, that most of American Health Insurance Plans should provide choices that would ensure that consumers have choices in their healthcare decisions.
By using the flexibilities within the law (allow insurers to offer competitive products that work for consumers) is considered a sound goal. The debates continue to work through the multiple layers of regulation imposed by the ACA and bridging the new law that would result in opening new affordable and flexible options to insurers and consumers.