Trump administration freezes billions in Obamacare payments, outraging advocates

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Leroy N. Soetoro

Jul 15, 2018, 1:09:10 PM7/15/18

The Trump administration is freezing billions of dollars of payments to
Obamacare health insurers, another blow to the fragile markets as health
plans begin to set premiums and get ready for the next enrollment season.

The so-called risk adjustment payments are supposed to protect insurers
from big losses. The health plans pay into a pool — this doesn’t involve
tax dollars — and funds are transferred to insurers that ended up with
many high cost patients. In 2017, $10.4 billion was involved.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a statement over the
weekend it was halting the decision after a federal district court in New
Mexico decided in February the payments were based on flawed rules. It
also said it would appeal — particularly because another court in
Massachusetts upheld the payments.

“CMS is seeking a quick resolution to the legal issues raised and will
inform stakeholders of any update to the status of collections or payments
at an appropriate future date,” the agency said in a statement.

But insurers said even a temporary, uncertain pause is damaging, and
political opponents of the Trump administration took to Twitter to say
decision is part of a pattern of Republican attempts to sabotage
Obamacare, after failing to repeal it.

The trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans said the “new market
disruption” would create more uncertainty and drive up premiums for many
health plans.

“This decision comes at a critical time when insurance providers are
developing premiums for 2019 and states are reviewing rates,” the group
said in a statement. “This decision will have serious consequences for
millions of consumers who get their coverage through small businesses or
buy coverage on their own.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association President and CEO Scott Serota said the
administration has the legal justification needed to move forward with the
payments regardless of the New Mexico ruling.

“This action will significantly increase 2019 premiums for millions of
individuals and small business owners and could result in far fewer health
plan choices,” Serota said in a statement. “It will undermine Americans’
access to affordable coverage, particularly those who need medical care
the most.”

The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Frank
Pallone (D-NJ), said the administration's move was “smoke and mirrors“ —
and illegal.

“By refusing to make risk adjustment payments, the Trump Administration is
breaking the law,” he said in a statement Sunday evening “This is a
malicious and intentional attack on our health care system and on
Americans’ access to health insurance, plain and simple.“

Andy Slavitt, who headed CMS during the Obama administration, wrote on
Twitter that since the funds will eventually be paid, no insurers should
withdraw from the markets or overreact in the meantime.

“The administration should react and address quickly so as not to
precipitate a crisis,” Slavitt wrote.

The Affordable Care Act had three programs aimed at reducing insurers’
risk as they entered uncertain new markets. The other two programs expired
after three years, but the risk adjustment program is supposed to be
permanent under the statute.

Donald J. Trump, 304 electoral votes to 227, defeated compulsive liar in
denial Hillary Rodham Clinton on December 19th, 2016. The clown car
parade of the democrat party ran out of gas and got run over by a Trump

Congratulations President Trump. Thank you for cleaning up the disaster
of the Obama presidency.

Under Barack Obama's leadership, the United States of America became the
The World According To Garp.

ObamaCare is a total 100% failure and no lie that can be put forth by its
supporters can dispute that.

Obama jobs, the result of ObamaCare. 12-15 working hours a week at minimum
wage, no benefits and the primary revenue stream for ObamaCare. It can't
be funded with money people don't have, yet liberals lie about how great
it is.

Obama increased total debt from $10 trillion to $20 trillion in the eight
years he was in office, and sold out heterosexuals for Hollywood queer
liberal democrat donors.
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