Congress Dramatically Shrinks Obamacare ‘Fix’

Pro-Obamacare Protesters

In the wake of the failed push to repeal and replace Obamacare, Congress’ list of possible fixes for the ACA has shrunk to the bare-minimum. The final package designed to stabilize the program may contain only some payments to insurers and extra flexibility for an Obama-era waiver program. And no one guarantees that the mini-package will ever pass.

The Senate health committee announced that they would be meeting with state insurance representatives and governors to discuss possible improvement to the insurance markets. Some governors have broader plans to stabilize the program, but Congress lacks any appetite for a major fix.

Republicans are especially disgruntled that seven years of efforts to repeal the Obama-era health care law ended in an epic failure in a GOP-controlled Congress. The Republican Party has no intention of fixing a law that it has so long fought against.

So, experts expect very limited action on Obamacare’s stabilization this month. One insurance company thinks congressmen are just “deluding themselves” if they think that the latest list of fixes will prompt health plans to shift approach next year.

Just a Few Fixes Are Currently Feasible

What’s more, industry analysts believe that only a handful of fixes are currently feasible since Obamacare is no longer threatened to disappear overnight. Moreover, every county has its own insurance plan on individual markets.

Under Obamacare, insurers were requested to lower premiums and co-pays to low-earners seeking health insurance on individual exchanges. The federal government promised to help insurers deliver affordable care through cost-sharing reductions or payments that helped them offset the cuts.

President Trump has made cutting off the federal subsidies to insurers a key piece of his agenda. Without the cost-sharing reductions, premiums could jump 20 percent. So, the first thing to do in stabilizing Obamacare would be to ensure insurance companies that they’ll get the payments. Luckily, both parties want to further fund the payments, which is now on the to-do-list.
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