With two months of Affordable Care Act (ACA) stabilization bill efforts under the belt, it is becoming questionable whether Congress will be able to pass, or even bring to the floor, a bill President Trump will support and sign. We saw some developments this week that may shape the future of cost sharing subsidy payments as well as any other ACA fixes in the months to come.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their findings on the Alexander-Murray bill, estimating the legislation would decrease the federal deficit by $3.8 billion over a decade. The interesting finding, however, was the legislation would not do much in the way of boosting enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace.
With the lack of official support from the Trump administration, however, GOP leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee introduced their own proposal to fund cost sharing subsidies. This proposal includes a delay of the individual mandate and retroactive employer mandate rescission. The proposal also includes language to expand health savings accounts. The conservative principles in this bill are unlikely to get the 60 needed votes in the Senate, however, with Democratic leaders coming out against the proposal.
Perhaps most importantly, the U.S. District Court denied the emergency request to continue making Cost Sharing Reduction payments while the lawsuit regarding the legality of the subsidies is pending. Notably, the request was denied because the judge found the Trump administration has the stronger legal argument to terminate these payments, and most state regulators have come up with solutions to the lack of subsidy payouts.
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