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On the more progressive side of the party, there’s a push for a “Medicare For All” type plan, while on the more moderate end, there’s a focus on fixing and shoring up the health law. The mixed messaging could muddy the waters in the coming high-tension midterms. Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to get ahead of criticism over rising premiums.
But officials said the increase would have been closer to 5 percent had the individual mandate not been zeroed out.
States are taking on more power as the Trump administration and Republicans chip away at federal regulations, leaving the landscape bumpy and uneven. Meanwhile, the National Federation of Independent Business, after lobbying for years, said it won’t set up an association health plan because the new rules laid out by President Donald Trump are unworkable.
Chief Justice John Roberts has previously joined the four liberal justices to preserve the health law, so it is less likely that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s vote would be the one that sways any related decision. Meanwhile, an assessment finds that states’ efforts to protect consumers from high costs after the government ended certain health law subsidies last year is working.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) left open the possibility of legislative action to restore the payments that are made to insurers to help stabilize the marketplaces. The administration had frozen the program off of a judge’s order from earlier in the year. Democrats also chimed in, asking for the funds to be unfrozen.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said in 2011 that a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ACA lacked standing until the tax penalty took effect. “When his decision came down, I remember thinking ‘Oh, well that’s savvy,’” said Orin Kerr, a professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.
The plans allow insurers to offer coverage that doesn’t follow all the strict regulations in the Affordable Care Act.
A federal court ruling in New Mexico found the Trump administration did not properly justify its formula for dispensing the funds. “We’ve been trying to figure out, is there a solution? We understand the impact to the market [but] we have to follow what the courts say,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.
The Trump administration is also directing the insurance counselors, for the first time, to help people enroll in health plans that do not comply with the consumer protection standards and other requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The move comes just days after CMS froze a program that gave money to insurers to help stabilize the marketplace.
Despite Republicans’ efforts to chip away at the law, experts say, “The market is in a better position now than it has ever been since the exchanges have opened.”