Posted by on May 22, 2017 4:36 pm
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Categories: 111th United States Congress 115th United States Congress American Health Care Act bargaining chip CGI Group Chuck Schumer Congress Economy health insurance Health insurance marketplace Healthcare reform in the United States insurance Internal Revenue Code Internal Revenue Service Mexico money Nancy Pelosi obamacare Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Politics Presidency of Barack Obama Senate Social Issues Statutory law SWIFT Trump Administration United States

The Trump administration and the House have officially asked for another 90 days to work out a lawsuit over subsidies that help poorer people afford to use their Obamacare insurance plans, further delaying a long-running legal fight that’s already destabilizing the health law.

As Axio snotes, the key point is – “The parties continue to discuss measures that would obviate the need for judicial determination of this appeal, including potential legislative action.”

Full motion below…

Bloomberg continues…

Without the payments, insurers have threatened to drop out of Obamacare or substantially raise premiums, and customers could face thousands of dollars in unexpected costs. The Trump administration could still choose to drop the appeal, though other parties are attempting to take up defense of the payments.

State officials, the health industry and Democrats in Congress have pushed for the payments to continue, saying that ending them would upend the insurance market and cost millions of people their health insurance.

“We need swift action and long-term certainty on this critical program,” Cathryn Donaldson, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, said in an email.

“It is the single most destabilizing factor in the individual market, and millions of Americans could soon feel the impact of fewer choices, higher costs, and reduced access to care.”

The group is one of the main lobbying associations for health insurers.

However, as Bloomberg reports, while the latest delay is a reprieve for Obamacare, it does little to resolve the underlying uncertainty created by the case and by Republican efforts in Congress to repeal and replace large parts of the law. Health insurers are in the midst of deciding whether to participate in the Affordable Care Act next year, and what to charge customers. Some have already said they’ll raise premiums in 2018 because of uncertainty around the subsidies.

Trump previously threatened to use the CSR payments as a bargaining chip to bring Democrats to the table on health care if Republicans can’t muster enough repeal votes in the Senate. He also tried to use them as leverage to gain funding for a border wall with Mexico, saying he’d give Democrats a dollar in CSR money for every dollar for the wall.

Of course,  the Democrats had plenty to say…

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the decision to continue the funding showed the administration knows that continuing the payments is the right thing to do. He criticized the uncertainty from Trump on their future.

“Unfortunately, by kicking the can down the road once again, the administration is continuing to sow uncertainty in the markets that will hurt millions of Americans,” Schumer said in a statement. “Instead of hemming and hawing, they ought to step up to the plate and say once and for all that they will make these payments permanently, which help millions of Americans pay less for their health care.”

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, of California, criticized the action to delay the lawsuit further rather than resolve it once and for all.

“Republicans cynically continue to sow uncertainty in the health coverage of millions of Americans,” Pelosi said in a statement. “At a critical period when insurers are deciding premiums for next year, Republicans are pouring uncertainty into the health insurance marketplaces.”

While the delay will move the next update for the case to mid-August, the deadline for insurers to submit their 2018 plans for Obamacare’ exchanges in most states is June 21.

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