Trump administration slashes funding for Obamacare outreach program

Another challenge for Obamacare — and a bigger bill for taxpayers

Another challenge for Obamacare — and a bigger bill for taxpayers

Should those payments remain frozen, three insurers-Blue Shield of California, Health Care Services Corporation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida-would miss out on more than $2 billion due this fall, according to data released (PDF) by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

If you're been buying insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges, here's more news you need to know. Typically, agencies publish proposed rules to allow time for public comment before they go into effect.

But the Trump administration is hanging its decision to withhold subsidies to insurers on court decisions from New Mexico and MA which say the way those payments are handed out is too vague.

The issue is expected to be resolved by the end of the year and risk adjustment transfers will be completed "on time or with only minimal delay", she said. The Trump administration is making it easier for Americans to sign up for these policies, which many experts say will weaken Obamacare by siphoning off younger and healthier enrollees.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said CareSource was receiving federal money from the risk pool and would have to pay $16 million.


The cut will impact navigators, the nonprofit organizations which the federal government pays to assist with registration in the countries which use HealthCare.gov due to their online market for individuals attempting to have protection through the Affordable Care Act. The so-called "risk adjustment" program takes payments from insurers with healthier customers and redistributes that money to companies with sicker enrollees. Another federal judge upheld the risk adjustment formula in a separate case filed in MA. "We're now in the midst of the 2019 rate-filing process and it's not clear how the risk-adjustment program will be operating", said Cori Uccello, senior health fellow at the American Academy of Actuaries.

In its announcement, the CMS reprised arguments it made a year ago that navigators, which operate with the annual grants in the 34 states that rely on the ACA's federal insurance exchange, have been ineffective and are less important than they once were: "As the exchange has grown in visibility and become more familiar to Americans seeking health insurance, the need for federally funded navigators has diminished". The Maryland Insurance Administration has a hearing scheduled for July 31. Rate filings by CT health insurers for 2019 are due next week. In addition, both President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have, in the past, supported the idea that insurers should not consider preexisting conditions when delivering coverage.

Jeffrey Loo, an analyst at CFRA Research, said health insurers are preparing 2019 rates "and this suspension adds financial uncertainty".

The most radical plan drafted by congressional Republicans last year-known as the Graham-Cassidy bill after two of its authors, Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Bill Cassidy (Louisiana)-would basically eliminate the ACA's private insurance marketplaces as well as Medicaid expansion, replacing them with lower-funded state block grants with few strings attached.

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