GOP lawmakers acknowledge they’ll eventually have to contend with shaky insurance markets and what to do about the elimination of remaining cost-sharing subsidy payments due this year. If a stand-alone bipartisan bill cannot be passed, money to fund the key insurance subsidy program could be resurrected as part of a year-end spending agreement.

. . .

The White House says that substantial changes must be made to a bipartisan health-care deal for President Trump to support it.

The changes would push the bill to the right, raising serious doubt about whether Democrats would agree to the deal.

A White House official said Wednesday night that the deal should include “relief” from ObamaCare’s individual mandate, which requires that people have health insurance. The mandate is a central component of ObamaCare of which Democrats are protective and Republicans critical.

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A majority of voters back a key component of President Trump’s executive order. Fifty-two percent of voters said they support Trump’s plan to make it easier for small businesses to band together in associations to sponsor low-cost, less comprehensive health care coverage across state lines, while 30 percent said they oppose the policy, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll. 39% believe the executive order will lead to lower insurance premiums and 36% said health insurance costs would be likely to rise.

Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray say they have reached an agreement on a bipartisan Obamacare deal to fund a key insurance subsidy program and provide states flexibility to skirt some requirements of the health care law.

There is no assurance that the agreement will get to the Senate floor, however. Republicans on Tuesday were lukewarm about the prospect of resuming debate over whether to try to prop up Obamacare after multiple failed GOP attempts to repeal the law.

The deal would include funding through 2019 for Obamacare’s cost-sharing program, which President Donald Trump cut last week. It would allow states to use existing Obamacare waivers to approve insurance plans with “comparable affordability” to Obamacare plans, Alexander said. But it would notably not allow states to duck the law’s minimum requirements for what a health insurance plan must cover.

. . .

Revised waiver language in the Alexander-Murray bill requires states to “provide coverage and cost sharing protections against excessive out-of-pocket spending that are of comparable affordability, including for low-income people, people with serious health needs, and other vulnerable populations.”

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By our deadline Friday the world had continued to spin without interruption-planes taking off and landing; men and women commuting home after another week at work-and if you’re reading this then you survived the ObamaCare subsidy apocalypse of 2017. We’re referring to the political meltdown over the Trump Administration’s decision to end extralegal payments to insurers.

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The changes Trump’s executive order envisions would not alter the constraints imposed by the ACA or other federal statutes. They would work within those constraints. These changes would allow many consumers to avoid the ACA exchanges and ObamaCare’s hidden taxes—but then again, so did President Obama when he created “grandmothered” plans. They would make the costs of community rating, essential health benefits, and other hidden taxes more transparent—but so did “grandmothered” plans, as well as the steps President Obama took with Congress to increase premium-assistance-tax-credit clawbacks and to limit risk-corridor subsidies.
. . .

President Donald Trump plans to end a key set of Obamacare subsidies that helped lower-income enrollees pay for health care, the White House said Thursday, a dramatic move that raises questions about the law’s future.

The late-night announcement is part of Trump’s aggressive push to dismantle aspects of his predecessor’s signature health law after several failed attempts by Congress to repeal it earlier this year.
. . .

The West Virginia Insurance Commission approved rate increases for Highmark West Virginia and CareSource Insurance’s services sold in the “Obamacare” exchange.

MetroNews learned Tuesday premiums for Highmark West Virginia will increase by 25.6 percent, while CareSource Insurance will have a 19.6-percent increase in its rate.

Eight-five percent of the around 25,000 residents who received health care through the exchange last year received a government subsidy, but those who did not saw a 32-percent increase in monthly premiums.

. . .

President Trump’s executive order directs federal agencies to write new rules that would allow consumers to buy less regulated, less expensive health insurance plans. The agencies will take months to enact new regulations and after that it’s unclear when consumers should expect premium relief. But this could be a game changer for those seeking more insurance options than have been permitted under ObamaCare.

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