April 12, 2017
After reports indicated that the HHS would continue to pay ACA cost-sharing subsidies, The HHS further clarified that the Trump Administration has made no decision regarding the future of the payments, causing concern across the health care industry.
In 2014, House Republicans brought a lawsuit against the HHS, claiming that the cost-sharing subsidies were being paid for illegally, and were unconstitutional. Recently, in response to a question regarding the future of cost-sharing subsidies during the pending litigation, the HHS wrote in a statement to the NY Times that “The precedent is that while the lawsuit is being litigated, the cost-sharing subsidies will be funded. It would be fair for you to report that there has been no policy change in the current administration.”
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Furthermore, House Speaker Paul Ryan reiterated this stance.
“While the lawsuit is being litigated, then the administration funds these benefits,” he told reporters. “That’s how they’ve been doing it and I don’t see any change in that.”
According to reports, insurers were not reassured by this statement, and requested further clarification regarding the future of the subsidies into 2018, as these payments are essential in order to keep the marketplace functioning.
Yesterday, the HHS responded to the NY Times report, calling it “inaccurate.”
The HHS also released a statement indicating that no decision has been made regarding cost-sharing subsidies and that “The administration is currently deciding its position on this matter,” according to The Hill.
According to reports, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has been lobbying Congress to pass appropriations to fund the subsidies. The AHIP recently release information stressing the importance of cost-sharing subsidies, noting that without them average premium prices will increase by 19%. They also stated that without the subsidies taxpayer spending would increase.
“Roughly 6.4 million Americans depend on these subsidies to access health coverage, and their elimination would make it nearly impossible for low-income people to afford needed health care,” the AHIP wrote. —David Costill