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Trump admin expected to halt some payments under Obamacare program

10 July 2018

Dr. Dave Weldon, president of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries, discusses why health care sharing ministries could be a good alternative for people who can't find affordable health care.

The Trump administration's abrupt suspension of billions of dollars in payments to ObamaCare insurers has prompted new warnings of rising premiums as health companies scramble to adjust.

In the meantime, some health insurers are potentially out billions of dollars. "It will undermine Americans' access to affordable coverage, particularly those who need medical care the most".

Insurance lobbyists said that they were puzzled and confused as to why the administration suspended the payments at this time. The ruling from New Mexico US District Court Judge Thomas Browning, says the federal government has been using an "arbitrary and capricious" method to determine payments.

Insurance stocks may be a focus in Monday morning's trading.

Levitt says the administration's announcement was "a little perplexing", given that the legal fight over the conflicting rulings in New Mexico and MA is still ongoing.

Legal experts said there were several ways the administration could have dealt with the situation, without going so far as to suspend the program.

In the MA case, however, a federal judge upheld the Obamacare formula, the Journal reports.

The CMS statement said the agency will "provide additional guidance shortly on how it will handle other issues relating to risk adjustment payments".

The risk adjustment program does not involve taxpayer funds.

The risk-adjustment program, which does not cost taxpayers any money and is required by law, is created to ensure that health care coverage is available for sicker, higher-cost patients by sharing the cost of covering them.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Saturday it was forced to halt further collections or payments under the ACA program known as risk adjustment, because of a federal judge's ruling.

Reuters' characterization of the move is that "President Donald Trump's administration has used its regulatory powers to undermine Obamacare after the Republican-controlled Congress a year ago failed to repeal and replace the law". Eventually, experts say, some insurers could simply get fed up and exit ObamaCare markets, leading to fewer choices for consumers. In a statement America's Health Insurance Plans, the trade association for health insurance companies, said they are "very discouraged by the new market disruption brought about by the decision to freeze risk adjustment payments". "It moves us back to some extent to the status quo where people with pre-existing conditions found it very hard to get insurance".

"We want to make sure that we keep our insurers in the market", he said.

Trump admin expected to halt some payments under Obamacare program