In testimony before House appropriators, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price has stated that the Trump administration is still determined to dismantle parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) even if Republicans lack the votes to rewrite it, according to an article in the Washington Post.
“What we’re committed to is making sure the American people have access to affordable coverage,” Price said.
Under questioning from Democrats, Price outlined how the HHS could make insurance plans cheaper by scaling back several federal mandates, including what the PPACA currently defines as “essential benefits” in coverage.
He declined to say whether the administration will keep providing cost-sharing subsidies for insurers participating in the federal marketplace. According to insurers, that continuous cash infusion is critical to maintaining the system’s stability.
The White House has pledged to pursue “phase two” of PPACA repeal through executive action. That stage could cover everything from how aggressively the government promotes enrolment under the act to what sort of financial support it gives to prop up the PPACA marketplace, according to the Post.
Insurers are particularly anxious to know whether the cost-sharing subsidies that help people with lower incomes to afford their out-of-pocket costs, which House Republicans have challenged in court as illegal, will continue. According to the Congressional Budget Office, those federal payments will total $7 billion this year and $10 billion in 2018.
Source: Washington Post; March 29, 2017.