Trump administration cuts grants to help people get Obamacare

The Trump administration finds another way to throw sand in Obamacare's gears at patients' expense

The Trump administration finds another way to throw sand in Obamacare's gears at patients' expense

And to win a federal grant for next year, navigator organizations will have to be willing to steer the public away from the Affordable Care Act to consider other options, like association health plans and short-term temporary insurance that the Trump Administration is promoting as a cheaper alternative to the ACA. The excuse Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is giving is that they believe the navigators don't sign up as many people as private entities like insurance brokers. In 2017 only, it involved ten billion. The announcement comes in the midst of the annual rate-filing period when insurers announce their estimated premium prices and plans for coverage to state regulators.

Citing inefficiencies and other information options for consumers, CMS cut funding to $10 million - down from $63 million in 2016. "Again, a year ago you heard a lot of that".

Trump has boasted that his actions have helped undermine the 2010 law. Having a risk adjustment program factors into these calculations.

According to the America Health Insurance Plans trade group, there is also a high possibility that the premiums for a significant number of health plans will increase due to the market uncertainties involved with the current disruption inflicted on them.

The administration, however, was not compelled to halt the payments on the basis of this ruling.

But in January, in a separate case, a federal district judge in MA upheld the government formula used to calculate the payments.

Sen. Ron Wyden of OR, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement that urging navigators to promote non-ACA plans amounts to "federally funded fraud: paying groups to sell unsuspecting Americans on junk plans that allow insurance companies to deny care on a whim and charge whatever they want is nothing but a scam". The agency has worked with insurers to address their concerns and to adjust the formula under both the Obama and Trump administrations.

CMS also notes that after last year's navigator funding was reduced, the overall enrollment in Obamacare plans increased slightly (when counting people who paid their first month's premiums) to 10.6 million people.

What is usually referred to as risk adjustment payments, aims to protect insurance companies from making hefty losses during their service delivery to the people. The mandate requires people without insurance from their employer or a government program to obtain health coverage or pay a penalty. The assault on pre-existing condition protections may make its way to the Supreme Court soon, and if Brett Kavanaugh is sitting on the bench, affordable health care for all will be at serious risk. Pregnancy could be one of these. But the justification was flimsy - a ruling last February by a judge in New Mexico that the government's method of calculating the payments was flawed.

As for the priority given to applicants that help spread the word about non-ACA health plans, Edwards said: "It's inappropriate".

The president last fall issued an executive order to try to make it easier for individuals and small businesses to buy health plans that cost less than ACA coverage because they cover fewer services and bypass rules meant to protect people from previous practices in which insurers charged higher prices to women, older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions. In President Barack Obama's previous year in office, $63 million was spent on it. The funding will be delivered to eligible organizations that can help individuals enroll in ACA health plans.

This plan has now been rebranded and was issued by the Health Policy Consensus Group on June 19 in the form of "Policy Recommendations to Congress".

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