Delay in court case deepens health insurance uncertainty

Friday, 26 May, 2017

These numbers became a key talking point for Democrats railing against the GOP bill and even spooked moderate Republicans out of voting for the legislation they feared could haunt them in the midterms in 2018.

Having a baby in the United States is more expensive than anywhere else in the world: According to one study from 2010, commercial insurers paid hospitals, on average, about $18,000 for maternal and newborn care for vaginal births, and about $28,000 for C-section births.

Republicans in the House have claimed the changes they made in the latest version of the health care bill were all aimed at lowering premiums for consumers. Insurers may make hasty decisions or try to compensate for the uncertainty in other means, like raising prices for other consumer groups to make up the difference or by withdrawing from insurance markets altogether. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 3 Republican, said Tuesday. There's got to be certainty in the marketplace. In 2017, the spending limit is $7,150 for an individual plan and $14,300 for family coverage. The penalty is seen as critical to inducing younger, healthier people to get coverage. It may be that Trump, by threatening to cancel the subsidies, is really just trying to frighten Ryan and McConnell into taking the hit on this instead of him, especially knowing that the party is already anxious about political damage from the Russiagate stuff and doesn't want to sustain more on health care.

One idea that has been discussed in the Senate Republican working group on healthcare is to allow states to waive some of the ObamaCare regulations if they agree to auto-enroll people in their state in a health insurance plan. On Monday, the administration sought to delay the lawsuit again, effectively prolonging uncertainty over the fate of the payments.

This score will be used to decide whether the American Health Care Act complies with overall rules allowing it to be considered under "reconciliation". President Donald Trump had previously suggested that Democrats should negotiate with him on a health care bill if they wished to keep the subsidies. "It is the single most destabilizing factor in the individual market, and millions of Americans could soon feel the impact of fewer choices, higher costs, and reduced access to care".

In a country of more than 300 million people, we should not just tolerate this kind of state-level innovation - we should welcome it.

Without the aid, insurers nearly certainly will raise rates, which, ironically, would most affect middle- and upper-income consumers who have been most critical of the current law and have fueled the GOP repeal campaign.

It's also the beginning of what's likely to be a wild week in health-care politics on Capitol Hill.

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Cutting off these payments to insurers could be catastrophic for the market for people who buy their health insurance directly from insurers or via exchange marketplaces like HealthCare.gov and Covered California, as opposed to getting coverage from an employer or a government program like Medicare or Medicaid.

The two parties could ask to continue the hold and the court could grant it. Insurers would then face another 90 days of questioning whether the payments would be made.

House Republicans sued over the payments in November, 2014.

Whether Senate Republicans will be able to come up with a legislative package that would do this remains unclear, however.

"Why the hell would we?" he said, according to an adviser. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who is among a small bipartisan group of lawmakers seeking compromise on health care legislation. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

But McConnell and other senior GOP leaders have thus far indicated no public interest in such a move.

Facing angry constituents at a town hall meeting in Iowa last week, Republican congressman Rod Blum explained why he had voted for the GOP bill that repeals key parts of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare): "Get rid of some of these insane regulations that Obamacare puts in", he said, "such as a 62-year-old male having to have pregnancy insurance".