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Trump administration slashes more ObamaCare funds

13 July 2018

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Tuesday that it would provide only $10 million for the navigator program for this fall's open enrollment season. No taxpayer subsidies are involved.

Navigator groups that have helped people sign up for health insurance since Obamacare coverage began in 2014 said the funding cuts will be hard to absorb.

But supporters of the ACA criticized the CMS announcement as the latest move by the Trump administration to undermine former President Barack Obama's healthcare law, also known as Obamacare.

Frank Pallone called the cuts more "sabotage" from the administration. "I think that there's been a lot of discussion about whether the Trump administration is making a decision".

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"An effective risk adjustment program is crucial to the sound operation of a health insurance marketplace in which individuals, families and small businesses with health needs have access to more affordable, high-quality coverage", said Bill Wehrle, Kaiser Permanente vice president of health insurance exchanges, in a statement. A spokeswoman for ConnectiCare said the insurer is "monitoring developments" related to risk adjustment payments and plans to file its 2019 small group and individual plan rates next week. The agencies in a statement said that they were seeking legal redress and understanding and will be informing all the involved participants of any bring up-to-date information regarding the current collections or future payments at the right time.

CareSource, which will offer insurance in 79 of Indiana's 92 counties in 2019, would have gone from being a net receiver of money from the pool to paying about $16 million a year to other insurers - that is, until the freeze went into effect.

But in January, in a separate case, a federal district judge in MA upheld the government formula used to calculate the payments.

The administration said navigators were not enrolling enough people to receive higher funding amounts.

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The latest "Obamacare" flare-up does not affect most people with employer coverage.

Every action the Trump administration has taken on Obamacare suggests that's their goal. The mandate requires people without insurance from their employer or a government program to obtain health coverage or pay a penalty. But the White House never produced a proposal, and legislation from congressional Republicans would have left millions uninsured, while undermining protections for people with pre-existing health problems. John McCain, R-Ariz., cast a crucial "no" vote, with a thumbs down gesture that's become a target of Trump criticism at campaign-style rallies. The cuts to grass-roots groups around the country were announced three days after health officials revealed that, because of a pending lawsuit, they were suspending a program created by the law to even out the burden on health insurers whose customers are especially unhealthy or sick.

Signaling the administration's long-term objectives, Andrew Bremberg, who oversees domestic policy at the White House, told reporters previous year, "The president still firmly believes that Congress must act to repeal and replace Obamacare, but before that can be done, this administration must act to provide relief".

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Trump administration slashes more ObamaCare funds