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Trump administration cuts grants to help people get Obamacare

Trump administration cuts grants to help people get Obamacare

They are the public face of the Affordable Care Act in North Carolina for legions of residents stumped by the complexities of health insurance.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said navigators aren't effective. Under the risk adjustment program, insurers with healthier policyholders contribute money, which is then divvied up among carriers with sicker ones. Payments for 2017 are $10.4 billion. No taxpayer subsidies are involved.

In justifying the cuts, CMS said the program is an "established marketplace" heading into its sixth year, so many people are more familiar with it. Association health plans were expanded earlier this year by the administration as a lower cost offering for Americans. "The administration has said they were disappointed with the New Mexico ruling, and they want to work it out", said Greg Fann, consulting actuary for Axene Health Partners and fellow of the Society of Actuaries.

But multiple insurers have issued statements in recent days saying the decision will likely force some companies to raise rates.

Since Republican campaigns to kill Obamacare failed in Congress previous year, the Trump administration has been taking every opportunity to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. The group further added that it was worrying to see that the decision was made during a time when they were reviewing the premiums for the year 2019. In other words, the Trump Administration position in court is in favor of making the payments. But the Saturday announcement via email was unusual for such a major step. The government asked the court to reconsider its ruling.

Trump administration officials said they were forced to make the cuts after a federal court in New Mexico ruled in February that the formula for calculating risk adjustment could not use a statewide average premium.

"Given our large and unique distribution-channel strategy of utilizing our retail centers along with our telesales efforts, our dedicated field agents and our direct in-market enrollment efforts, we do not depend on navigators to enroll ACA members", said spokesman Paul Kluding.

The brunt of higher prices would fall on solid middle-class consumers who are not eligible for the income-based subsidies.

The payments were created to stop insurers from losing money on very sick patients, who cost the most to treat.

The latest "Obamacare" flare-up does not affect most people with employer coverage. In addition, both President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have, in the past, supported the idea that insurers should not consider preexisting conditions when delivering coverage.

There has been no demonstrable outrage from leading Democrats on Trump's intensifying campaign to transform Medicaid into a cut-rate voucher program or other aspects of the administration's crusade against the poor and dismantling of what remains of the social safety net. "There is a need to analyze insurers case-by-case and account for their competitive landscapes", said Tinglong Dai, an associate professor of operations management and business analytics at the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School. But the White House never produced a proposal, and legislation from congressional Republicans would have left millions uninsured, while undermining protections for people with pre-existing health problems.

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