ACA Subsidies for Insurers Safe for Now

In an effort to calm the nerves of wary health plans who are unsure about whether to participate in ACA exchanges in 2018, the Trump administration asked a federal court to delay a ruling about ACA subsidies, the Wall Street Journal reports. The subsidies help low-income Americans buy coverage on the exchanges. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled in May that the subsidies are improper because the insurers were supposed to pay for them, not taxpayers. Ironically, the suit was filed by the GOP controlled House with President Obama in office. Collyer stayed her order, allowing the Obama administration to appeal. Now, it’s the Trump administration that wants to delay the ruling.  

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the subsidies would be about $130 billion from 2017 through 2026. But those funds were never properly appropriated, the GOP charged in its original filing. The law says that insurers must provide cost-saving discounts with or without government assistance.

Insurers have been bailing out of the exchanges and more vowed to do so if the subsidies were withdrawn, saying that would make staying economically unfeasible. They received about $7 billion in subsidies last year.

Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at Kaiser Family Foundation, tells the Wall Street Journal that, “There’s just no way most insurers would continue to participate in the marketplaces if these subsidies disappear, creating chaos as the repeal and replace debate goes on.”

Source: Wall Street Journal