The only thing that’s certain these days in health care is uncertainty. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced today that the spending bill currently being ironed out by lawmakers will not include payments to insurers, reports the Wall Street Journal. Health plans have said that such subsidies are the only way to make staying on the ACA exchanges viable, because they help defray the costs of caring for older and/or sicker beneficiaries.
The subsidies to insurers amount to about $130 billion from now until 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office. They help defray the cost of buying insurance on the Obamacare exchanges for about six million people, and many Democrats have threatened to vote against any spending bill that doesn’t include them. President Trump has threatened to withhold the subsidies in a bid to force Democrats to negotiate a law that will replace the ACA.
Lawmakers are feverously hammering out an agreement on a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown at midnight Friday. Ryan today expressed optimism that the shutdown could be averted. “We’re getting really close,” he told reporters. “I think we’re making really good progress. Now it’s just kind of getting down to our final details.”
Source: Wall Street Journal