Last year, residents in Pinal County, Arizona, came close to facing a unique dilemma when they headed to Healthcare.gov to sign up for insurance. The county was the only place in the country where there would be no tax-subsidized insurance plans for customers to buy, meaning those without an employer-provided plan would have to foot the bill on their own, go uninsured or look for an alternative arrangement lacking the extensive coverage required under President Barack Obama’s health care law.
The lack of subsidized plans came after a string of marketplace exits by insurers that left a third of U.S. counties – most of them rural – with only one health insurer in the area. To make matters worse, rates for midlevel plans under Obamacare would be rising on average by more than 20 percent.
As House Republicans struggle to find a way to repeal ObamaCare, the two GOP senators from Tennessee are looking to temporarily fix an issue that may strike the health insurance exchanges next year.
A bill introduced by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker would allow people to use their ObamaCare subsidies to purchase any state-approved plan on the private market if there are no insurers selling policies on the federal exchange in their county.
Insurers are particularly concerned about what House Republicans and the Trump administration will do about cost-sharing reduction subsidies for low-income people on Obamacare exchange plans.
“We’re helping them understand that the subsidies are very important,” said Michael Neidorff, chairman and CEO of Centene, an insurance company that specializes in Medicaid and Obamacare plan health coverage.
President Trump is doing his best to put a good face on defeat in his party’s attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
His strategy is simple: declare that the law is failing. And he is selling that message in his own distinctly Trumpian way: concocting it out of simple, bold words and then hammering that message home, over and over: Obamacare, in his words, will “explode.”
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, facing a revolt among conservative and moderate Republicans, rushed to the White House Friday afternoon to inform President Trump he did not have the votes to pass legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to decide whether to pull the bill from consideration.
The president and the speaker faced the humiliating prospect of a major defeat on legislation promised for seven years, since the landmark health legislation was signed into law. President Trump had demanded a vote regardless, which has been scheduled for Friday afternoon. But House leaders were leaning against such a public loss.
House Republicans continued to negotiate changes Thursday to their legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare even as leaders have promised a floor vote on the bill by the end of the day.
The conservative House Freedom Caucus — led by North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows — announced Wednesday they had enough “no” votes to kill the bill, because members felt it did not go far enough in repealing the mandates established in the Affordable Care Act.
That touched off a flurry of negotiations into the night and continuing Thursday morning over changes that could still be made to win their support.
The sensational James Comey hearing yesterday guaranteed that alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign will dominate the headlines for months to come. But this has had virtually no impact on the U.S. stock market, which is anticipating another decent earnings season in April with only two major concerns:
The most pressing concern involves President Trump’s agenda — which is why Thursday’s House vote on an Obamacare replacement is crucial. Despite Trump’s personal involvement in the issue, he still appears to be a vote or two short this morning. Make no mistake: a defeat in Thursday’s vote would send a clear signal that the rest of Trump’s agenda — taxes, the budget, infrastructure, etc. — is in trouble.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Sunday said he felt “very good” about the chances that the House would pass the Republicans’ healthcare bill, even as changes were being made to lure votes, such as providing more assistance for older Americans.
“We’re still having conversations with our members,” Ryan (R-Wis.) said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re making fine-tuning improvements to the bill to reflect people’s concerns, to reflect peoples’ improvements.”
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) says Obamacare is in a “death spiral,” and he should know: He’s the one who cut the power to Obamacare’s engines and pointed its nose downward.
President Trump says, “Obamacare is imploding and will only get worse,” and he should know: He’s the one who placed the explosives under Obamacare’s foundation.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), co-author of the GOP health-care bill, says of Obamacare: “We’ve arrived at the scene of a pretty big wreck.” And he, too, should know: He’s the one who dumped oil and tire spikes on the road.
Reminder: Republicans are struggling to mend a system that’s badly broken.
Hillary Clinton was conspicuously quiet about Obamacare in the final weeks of the election, and for good reason. One week before Election Day, the law’s fourth open-enrollment period began, accompanied by a wave of policy cancellations and rate hikes. After analyzing published prices from every state, the New York Times’ Upshot blog confirmed on November 4: “Average Obamacare insurance rates really are going up by 22 percent.”