Sens. Lamar Alexander and Susan Collins have proposed a market stabilization package that would include funding for the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies for three years, three years of federal reinsurance at $10 billion a year, additional ACA waiver flexibility for states, and expanded eligibility for “copper” plans.

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Both Democrats and Republicans in Washington are considering policies that would not only retain ObamaCare for the indefinite future, but also expand this health-care disaster beyond even President Obama’s ambitions. These proposals would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by shoveling billions of additional dollars in deficit spending into the pockets of insurance companies, which have been losing money on ObamaCare’s exchanges because of the law’s misguided one-size-fits-all approach. The real solution is obvious: we need to do away with this massive, expensive and unfair government program, instead of throwing money at a handful of corporations to tolerate it. But few have accused Washington of ever recognizing the obvious.

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Congressional Republicans who repeatedly pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare instead are racing today to rescue the law with truckloads of federal cash.

Their plan: a multi-billion-dollar bailout of health insurers that sell Obamacare policies. In return, the insurers promise to reduce premiums just in time for November’s elections.

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Insurance premiums for Affordable Care Act health plans are likely to jump by 35 to 94 percent around the country within the next three years, according to a new report concluding that recent federal decisions will have a profound effect on prices.

The nationwide analysis, issued Thursday by California’s insurance marketplace, finds wide variations state to state, with a broad swath of the South and parts of the Midwest in danger of what the report calls “catastrophic” average rate increases by 2021.

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Congress reportedly is contemplating appropriating more federal funding to prop up the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) and its harmful policy regulations. The radical and unnecessary changes in insurance regulations made by the ACA created much bigger problems in the insurance market that upended existing federal and state regulation of health insurance, destabilized the individual health insurance market, and resulted in higher costs and fewer choices. Ultimately, Congress can help Americans who are suffering from higher costs and premiums by resuming efforts to address the cause of this suffering by repealing and replacing Obamacare itself. Instead of a bailout, a good place to start would be to give states the flexibility to stabilize their markets.
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A federal appeals court is raising a potential hurdle to the settlement of a suit the House of Representatives brought against the Obama administration over billions of dollars in subsidies paid to insurers under Obamacare.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order Monday questioning a deal the House, the Trump administration and liberal states announced last September to try to shut down the case.

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The seismic effects of the Affordable Care Act on insurance markets continue to be felt nearly eight years after its enactment. Premiums for individual coverage more than doubled between 2013 and 2017. Much of that increase resulted from Obamacare’s new regulations. Some regulations-such as essential health benefits and actuarial value requirements-had discrete effects on premiums. A cluster of regulations prohibiting medical underwriting, requiring the issuance of coverage, and banning pre-existing condition exclusions under any circumstances collectively had the largest effect on premiums. Additional provisions of the ACA, such as those that induced costly enrollees with other coverage options to migrate to the subsidized individual market, also drove up premiums. The Trump Administration has taken some steps to help mitigate these challenges, but legislative action is the most effective approach. The Graham-Cassidy proposal offers a starting point for policymakers seeking to address these issues, by providing a conceptual framework for empowering states to repair or ameliorate much of the market dislocation resulting from Obamacare.
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Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.), a Republican who has been one of ObamaCare’s most vocal opponents, signed a bill Tuesday that would shore up the law’s insurance markets.

The bill would authorize the state to apply for a federal waiver to offer a reinsurance program covering 80 percent of medical claims costing between $50,000 and $250,000.

The program would cost $200 million, with the federal government paying 75 percent of the costs, and is meant to lower premiums for everyone else by paying for claims filed by the sickest, most expensive patients.

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Through its regime of subsidies, penalties, and federal regulations, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) made health insurance affordable to millions of people who were uninsured because they earned too little or had preexisting conditions. But it also made insurance more expensive for millions who used to be able to afford it. Between December 2013 and January 2017, average premiums more than doubled, and individual markets were in turmoil.

. . .

Gwen Hurd got the letter just before her shift at the outlet mall. Her health insurance company informed her that coverage for her family of three, purchased through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, would cost almost 60 percent more this year — $1,200 a month.

She and her husband, a contractor, found a less expensive plan, but at $928 a month, it meant giving up date nights and saving for their future. Worse, the new policy required them to spend more than $6,000 per person before it covered much of anything.

“It seems to me that people who earn nothing and contribute nothing get everything for free,” said Ms. Hurd, 30. “And the people who work hard and struggle for every penny barely end up surviving.”

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