- President Donald Trump is threatening to upset the individual market by refusing to pay cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies. The White House is also pushing Congress to continue efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) despite three votes last week in the Senate failing to garner enough support among Republicans.
- With the deadline for adjusting individual market rates a little more than two weeks away, insurance companies are pleading with the White House and Congress to make good on the CSRs and warn that premium rates would increase substantially if they are not paid.
- Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of about 40 lawmakers have been discussing changes to the ACA that both sides of the aisle can support. They are discussing permanent CSR funding, weakening the employer mandate and repealing the medical device tax, Politico reported.
After last week’s dramatic events, which delivered a big blow to the GOP and their push to repeal the ACA, the Trump administration is indicating it isn’t finished with healthcare.
Insurance companies are focused on the CSRs. They say without the payments premiums would likely increase by about 20% and the individual market would quickly become unsustainable.
Trump said on Twitter he might stop the CSRs, which he called a bailout for insurance companies. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said the official position from the White House is that Congress not vote on any other issue until it has passed healthcare legislation. Also, HHS Secretary Tom Price said he is considering weakening the individual mandate by expanding waivers.
The group of bipartisan centrists could be one avenue toward passing ACA changes, but many Republicans (and presumably the White House) won’t be satisfied unless the majority of the ACA is repealed. But more moderate Republicans oppose those measures, and as last week shows, the slim majority for the GOP is difficult for party leaders to overcome.
Even if Republicans drop the prospect of full ACA repeal, the administration could weaken the act by removing the individual mandate penalty. Also, the deadline for reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program is coming in September, and could be a vehicle for other healthcare legislation.