Uncertainty has forced many insurers out of the individual market completely. In those markets where insurers pulled out completely, Republicans wrongly assumed no one else would step in and take their place, ignoring just how markets work. Doh!
The new CBO report offers up even more bad news for Republicans, including every American who's life depends on being insured.
If President Donald Trump stops cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers participating in the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, premiums for individual plans would go up 20% on average, according to new analysis released on Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation.
Trump himself has great power over whether the ACA survives, and one of the ways to help “Obamacare victims,” a term Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have used, is to guarantee these cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, instead of threatening to stop them.
The Office’s findings underscore that Trump has control of the costs of these health insurance premiums. Many insurers that exited the marketplaces said they did so because of uncertainty over whether they would receive the cost-sharing payments.
“The most important thing that the president and the Republican senators can do is to ensure the funding for the cost-sharing reductions continues,” Dr. Mario Molina, former CEO of Molina Healthcare, told Yahoo Finance in July. “[Trump] has funded those on a month-to-month basis with no assurance they will continue. This is causing a lot of destabilization in the marketplace.”
For the insurers that have elected to stay on the exchanges to offer plans, many premiums were set in a similar ballpark to the CBO’s 20% as the insurers sought to hedge should the payments stop.