Insurers Push for ACA Subsidy Payments in Meeting With Top Health Official

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Insurers have been stressing the importance of the payments, with growing urgency, as they begin to face deadlines to decide whether to participate in the insurance marketplaces next year and how to set their rates.

Marguerite Salazar, Colorado's insurance regulator, said that her state's carriers, which include Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp., haven't said they're leaving, though they don't want to commit either.

The divide between urban Americans voting Democrat and those in rural areas voting Republican has become even more pronounced.

Trump told the Journal he and Congress would both have to approve the payments. The rate increase would likely be far less drastic in states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, since Medicaid provides government-sponsored insurance to low-income people who would otherwise use the individual marketplaces. Specifically, Trump suggested that once he deliberately undermines America's insurance markets and people start losing their coverage, then Democrats will be desperate to vote for his health-care plan - because everyone will blame Democrats for what he did.

Numerous insurers, citing financial losses with the product, have dropped out or reduced their footprint in the ACA market for 2018.

But while the administration can choose to stop making the payments to insurance companies, insurers would still be required to offer discounted policies.

North Korea threatens to fire nuclear missiles if attacked first
The parade was in celebration of the 105th birthday of the regime's founder and former leader Kim Il-sung. Speculation has grown that it is to conduct a sixth nuclear test to coincide with the anniversary.

Eager for a victory, the White House is expressing confidence that a breakthrough on the mired Republican health care bill could emerge in the House next week.

"We will not negotiate with hostage takers", said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.

- State officials are asking Congress to guarantee billions of dollars in health insurance subsidies under a legal cloud as a result of Republican opposition to "Obamacare". Democrats and some key congressional Republicans have called for the payments to be made, potentially as part of a bill to fund the government that's scheduled for action by the end of the month.

Administration officials are holding a meeting at the White House today [April 17] on Obamacare, according to a person familiar with the matter. "Premiums will go up sharply - almost 20 percent - across the market".

(The Freedom Caucus) said yes to him. Still, he said, the fate of the cost-sharing payments is a major uncertainty. Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer said he's hoping one company will re-join his state's exchange, while Nevada is attempting to convince Aetna and Centene Corp.to enter the state's Obamacare market. The subsidies make insurance more affordable for poorer consumers, and they're a major part of the insurance industry's bottom line: the federal government paid insurance companies $7 billion a year ago. A judge ruled in their favor, but allowed the cost-sharing payments to continue while the Obama administration appealed the decision to a higher court. North Dakota would see the smallest premium spike if the payments to insurers stopped-a 10-percent increase. Without the cost-sharing subsidies, insurers will have to boost premiums by 19 percent on average to make up the shortfall, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Of course, trying to legislate this way is as pathetic as it is risky, and there's little to suggest GOP lawmakers are prepared to put themselves at risk, simply to satisfy a symbolic goal meant to make Trump feel better about himself.

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