This likely will put more pressure on congressional Republicans to face down popular vote loser Donald Trump and work with Democrats to stabilize Obamacare’s insurance markets—the Congressional Budget Office is about to weigh in on what will happen if Trump stops cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers.
Amid ongoing uncertainty about President Trump’s will-he-or-won’t he dance regarding Obamacare’s cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office announced Friday that they will release a report next week on the impact of cutting off those payments. […]
Also this week, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that they will push back the August deadline for insurers to file their rates for 2018 until early September, which some are taking as an ominous sign that Trump does intend to cut off the CSR payments.
Though why the CBO is doing this report isn’t clear, one suspects that Democratic senators—perhaps Ron Wyden and Patty Murray—made the request. They were responsible for getting the CBO to issue snap analyses on a number of Republican proposals during the few days of the Trumpcare debacle in the Senate. The report is likely to show what most outside analyses of the impact of CSRs disappearing have shown—insurers will raise their premiums by double digits and it will cost the federal government a lot more to have to make up the difference.
The CSRs are paid by the government to insurance companies who provide assistance to lower-income Obamacare customers on their out-of-pocket expenses, like deductibles and co-pays. The companies are required by the law to provide those subsidies, but a drafting error in the law did not make it absolutely clear that the government was supposed to make those reimbursements and a Republican Congress decided to sue President Obama over the payments rather than making a technical correction to the law. Because why would they want to help their constituents.
This report, following right on the heels of a poll showing that nearly eight in ten voters wants the administration and Congress to make Obamacare work, should be pressuring Republicans to come back to work in September, ready to fix this. It should work that way, but it’s Republicans. Who the hell knows?