More on Policy and Legislation

Bipartisan short-term health insurance fix is on its way, Trump says

Healthcare bill expected to come up again next year, but insurers are dealing now with loss of cost-sharing reduction payments.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

President Donald Trump speaking at press conference on Oct. 16. Photo via White HousePresident Donald Trump speaking at press conference on Oct. 16. Photo via White House

Days after announcing the federal government would no longer fund cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, President Donald Trump on Monday said Republicans and Democrats are working on an intermediate, short-term plan for the health insurance market. 

A longer-term solution in a healthcare bill may happen this year or early in 2018, Trump said during a news conference held with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"We are getting close to healthcare," the president said. "It will come up in the early to mid-part of next year. We're going to have a vote. I think we already have the votes. We feel confident we have the votes.  We pretty much know what the plan is."

[Also: Trump administration ends cost-sharing reduction payments under ACA]

The president did not elaborate. 

Several GOP plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have either failed or been pulled due to lack of support.

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democrat Patty Murray, chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, have been working on a bipartisan solution for some time.

[Also: Insurance commissioners told Congress short-term cost-sharing fix won't stabilize marketplace]

The fix includes the continuation of cost-sharing reduction payments, that Alexander has said should continue at least until the end of 2018, and possibly 2019.

Insurer and provider organizations have jointly written a letter to Congress urging for the restoration of the CSR payments.

Democrats are working hard to get the CSR payments restored, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican, is putting together a proposal to fund the CSRs in exchange for ACA reforms, according to the Washington Examiner.

Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, said by statement, "We are deeply concerned that the Administration's recent actions will create further instability in the insurance market and threaten our shared goal of providing affordable and quality coverage and care to everyone, regardless of economic status, age, or condition."

Attorneys general in 19 states have filed a lawsuit against Trump's decision to end CSRs. States and insurers are scrambling to determine what Trump's decision means for premium rates ahead of  Nov. 1 open enrollment.

In Oregon, which has joined that lawsuit, insurance regulators said they would increase premium assistance payments from federal subsidies that would cover the loss of the cost-sharing payments, according to the Oregonian. 

Insurers were on a Sept. 29 deadline to file their rates.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer:

Show All Comments