A federal judge on Thursday ruled the Obama administration has been improperly funding an Obamacare subsidy program, a huge win for the House of Representatives’ lawsuit against the White House.
The judge said that the program can continue, pending appeal. The ruling, if it stands, could be a significant financial setback for the millions of low-income Americans who benefit from the cost-sharing subsidies, which help people pay for out-of-pocket costs like co-pays at the doctor’s office.
Congress authorized the program but never actually provided the money for it, wrote U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, a George W. Bush appointee.
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For months during the Democratic presidential nominating contest, Hillary Clinton has resisted calls from Senator Bernie Sanders to back a single-payer health system, arguing that the fight for government-run health care was a wrenching legislative battle that had already been lost.
But as she tries to clinch the nomination, Mrs. Clinton is moving to the left on health care and this week took a significant step in her opponent’s direction, suggesting she would like to give people the option to buy into Medicare.
“I’m also in favor of what’s called the public option, so that people can buy into Medicare at a certain age,” Mrs. Clinton said on Monday at a campaign event in Virginia.
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Rising healthcare costs are Americans’ primary financial concern. In fact, a recent survey found that 76% of Americans are concerned about increasing health insurance costs with nearly two-thirds more concerned this year than they were last year. As is now clear, the Affordable Care Act is making the problem worse. A recent S&P Global Institute report (not publicly available) showed that healthcare spending per individual market enrollee increased by nearly 70% in the first two years after the key provisions of the ACA took effect.
A recent Mercatus working paper, authored by Brian Blase, along with Doug Badger of the Galen Institute and Ed Haislmaier of the Heritage Foundation, found that insurers made risk corridor claims of $273 per enrollee on individual market qualified health plans—plans that comply with the ACA and are certified to be sold on exchanges—in 2014. Risk corridors were designed to transfer money from insurers that made profits selling QHPs to insurers that incurred losses on QHPs. Assuming that a fully-funded risk corridor program would have subsidized about two-thirds of insurer losses, insurers likely lost around $400 per enrollee in 2014. Since insurers enrolled about 8 million people in 2014, they likely lost about $3.2 billion overall selling individual QHPs.