Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

Trump officials cut funding for ObamaCare outreach groups

Trump officials cut funding for ObamaCare outreach groups

The move by CMS may affect publicly traded insurers that have stuck with Obamacare, such as St. Louis-based Centene Corp.

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The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, whose members are a mainstay of Affordable Care Act coverage said it was "extremely disappointed" with the administration's action.

The Trump administration said Saturday it's freezing payments under an "Obamacare" program that protects insurers with sicker patients from financial losses, a move expected to add to premium increases next year.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency that oversees the program, cited a recent federal court decision that found the formula for calculating the risk adjustment payments to be flawed.

Four boys first to be rescued from cave after 15-day ordeal
Initial euphoria over finding the boys alive quickly turned into deep anxiety as rescuers struggled to find a way to get them out. Officials said that four of the schoolboys were rescued over the weekend. "You don't need to be anxious about me".

A federal court in MA upheld the same allocation formula in January.

The move should not have been unexpected given the administration's disdain for other provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), leading to the elimination of other key taxpayer-funded subsidies and the outright eradication of the individual mandate through this past winter's tax cut legislation.

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 Congressionally mandated risk adjustment program of the Affordable Care Act redistributes funds from plans with lower-risk enrollees to plans with higher-risk enrollees, helping to ensure that sicker individuals can receive coverage by sharing the cost of covering them. The CMS said it won't be making transfer payments for the 2017 benefit year totaling $10.4 billion.

"This decision comes at a critical time when insurance providers are developing premiums for 2019 and states are reviewing rates". "It is important to keep in mind that the original risk adjustment payments are budget-neutral such that for some insurers to win, other insurers have to lose".

USA proposes $200B more in tariffs on Chinese imports
The President's tariffs are already squeezing some US firms, which have started to raise prices or lay off workers as a result. The official added that China has warned the US that future actions would be met with "economic attacks" on American markets.

Risk adjustment is a key aspect of market stabilization under the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

"An effective risk adjustment program is crucial to the sound operation of a health insurance marketplace in which individuals, families and small businesses with health needs have access to more affordable, high-quality coverage", said Bill Wehrle, Kaiser Permanente vice president of health insurance exchanges, in a statement. It also negates the fact that those healthy people were not willing participants in the pool until this year.

President Donald Trump's administration has used its regulatory powers to undermine the ACA on multiple fronts after the Republican-controlled Congress previous year failed to repeal and replace the law propelled by Democratic President Barack Obama.

Democrats say that the cuts are more evidence of Trump officials sabotaging the health law.

RESCUE: More brought out of Thai cave, fears of infection
A family member told CNN Monday that they hadn't been told which boys had been pulled out, and who is still trapped in the cave. Over the next three days, the boys were brought out in groups; four on the first day, four on the second and five on Tuesday.

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