Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Trump administration takes another swipe at 'Obamacare'

Trump administration takes another swipe at 'Obamacare'

The CMS said it won't be making transfer payments for the 2017 benefit year totaling $10.4 billion.

The Trump administration said Saturday it's been forced to freeze critical Obamacare payments due to a federal court decision in New Mexico, potentially causing more instability in the program's fragile markets.

"This decision will have serious consequences for millions of consumers who get their coverage through small businesses or buy coverage on their own".

The Affordable Care Act's (ACA) "risk adjustment" program is meant to incentivize health insurers to cover individuals with pre-existing and chronic conditions by collecting money from insurers with relatively healthy enrollees to offset the costs of other insurers with sicker ones, according to Reuters. The idea is to insulate insurance companies from the cost of enrolling people with pre-existing conditions, and remove the incentive for insurance companies to cherry pick healthy people.

The decision comes after a March 2018 court ruling that found the formula for calculating risk adjustment payments was "arbitrary and capricious".

CMS plans to appeal the court's ruling, as the U.S. District Court for the District of MA ruled to uphold the payments.

Insurance companies responded quickly on Saturday with their disapproval.

"Republicans are doing a bang up job ensuring they are properly blamed for health care rate hikes this fall", Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAn end game on Supreme Court nominations Liberals forget Constitution as Supreme Court battle fires up Anti-Trump protesters sing national anthem outside rally MORE (N.Y.), said in a Monday tweet".

U.S. Delegates Opposed an International Resolution That Supported Breastfeeding
Initial US hostility was triggered by a draft passage calling on governments to "protect, promote and support breast feeding". Research has shown that mother's milk contains far more nutrients that are necessary for a baby's health than infant formula.

"Insurers hate uncertainty, and when faced with it tend to raise premiums to hedge their bets", says Larry Levitt, Senior Vice President at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

"When the rules of the game change after the fact - insurers don't necessarily see the federal government as a particularly reliable partner right now", Levitt says.

However, if the administration is trying to undermine ObamaCare, payments might not resume anytime soon, and that could lead to lasting damage.

"We were disappointed by the court's recent ruling".

Indeed, a series of actions by the administration have undermined the ACA.

President Donald Trump's administration has used its regulatory powers to undermine the ACA on multiple fronts after the Republican-controlled Congress previous year failed to repeal and replace the law propelled by Democratic President Barack Obama. The administration has to have a legal justification for their actions. These include eliminating the individual mandate penalty and broadening the availability of two alternatives to Affordable Care Act policies.

"The Trump administration just keeps pushing their destructive repeal-and-sabotage agenda, no matter the cost to the American people", Brad Woodhouse, the director of Protect Our Care, an advocacy group that supports Obamacare, stated in the New York Times report.

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