Even with majorities in both houses of Congress, Republicans were unable to pass a repeal of the Affordable Care Act in 2017 even though they had made “Repeal Obamacare” a campaign cry ever since it came into being in 2010. When Republicans finally controlled Congress and the Presidency in 2017, the American people rose up so strongly to oppose repeal that the attempt failed. And now a survey shows that what Americans fear most about a new Supreme Court Justice is the possibility that the Court would take away coverage for pre-existing conditions.
The Trump administration took another major swipe at the Affordable Care Act, halting billions of dollars in annual payments required under the law to even out the cost to insurers whose customers need expensive medical services.
In a rare Saturday afternoon announcement [July 7], the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it will stop collecting and paying out money under the ACA’s “risk adjustment” program, drawing swift protest from the health insurance industry.
Risk adjustment is one of three methods built into the 2010 health-care law to help insulate insurance companies from the ACA requirement that they accept all customers for the first time — healthy and sick — without charging more to those who need substantial care.
The suspension of these payments is the most recent maneuver by the Trump administration to undercut the health-care law that President Trump has vowed since his campaign to demolish….
Two major insurers’ trade groups immediately decried the move.
“Risk adjustment is a mandatory program under federal law,” said Scott Serota, president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “Without a quick resolution . . . this action will significantly increase 2019 premiums for millions of individuals and small business owners. . . . It will undermine Americans’ access to affordable coverage, particularly for those who need medical care the most.”
Last year, health officials halved the length of the annual sign-up period for Americans to buy ACA health plans and also slashed by 90 percent the federal funds for advertising and other outreach efforts to urge people to enroll. Last October, the president ended another important subsidy to insurers: cost-sharing reduction payments, which cushioned them from the law’s requirement to provide discounts on deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs to low-income customers. This past week, the Administration went further, eliminating most of the funding for grass-roots groups that help Americans get Affordable Care Act insurance. For the first time urge the groups to promote health plans that bypass the law’s consumer protections and required benefits.
It is simply impossible to comprehend a reason for these actions. The Trump Administration appears ready to thwart the will of the vast majority of Americans and the welfare of all simply to undercut the legacy of his predecessor.