The Trump administration has agreed to continue paying current ACA subsidies, but hasn’t made future commitments for the long-term.
The most significant discussions that took place this week in Washington revolved around cost-sharing reductions (CSR) provided under the Affordable Care Act. For most lower-income people covered under Obamacare, these ACA subsidies make healthcare coverage, well, affordable (or, at least, more affordable than if they weren’t provided by the government). Late Wednesday, the White House told lawmakers that it will continue paying ACA subsidies, but no long-term plans have been set – with House Speaker Paul Ryan suggesting that CSR payments won’t be included in Congress’s upcoming spending bill. Earlier today, Congress announced the short-term bill, averting what could’ve been a government shutdown.
But with no long-term decision on payments for ACA subsidies, a large proportion of Americans are still at risk of being unable to afford healthcare coverage – with many currently living in notable red states in the south. Yesterday major health insurance provider, Anthem, announced that it would exit the Obamacare exchange if Congress failed to include the subsidies in their spending bill. As reported by The New York Times, Anthem CEO Joseph R. Swedish said that ending ACA subsidies in 2018 “would cause further market instability” and force the company to make the tough decision of leaving the Marketplace. In spite of Republican insistence that ACA markets are “imploding”, Anthem’s own earning reports – which reached overall profits of $1 billion on higher revenue of about $22 billion – suggest otherwise, and show that some of these markets are stabilizing.
Axios put together a map of where current Obamacare enrollees benefit from these cost-sharing reductions. In southern and (notably) predominantly red states – spanning Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina – anywhere between 62.3% to 77.6% of each state’s ACA exchange enrollees currently benefit from ACA subsidies.
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