•   
  •   
  •   

Politics Health insurers, state officials say Trump is undermining Obamacare

01:40  19 may  2017
01:40  19 may  2017 Source:   msn.com

What moderate GOP senators want in ObamaCare repeal

  What moderate GOP senators want in ObamaCare repeal Senate moderates have already put their markers down on the healthcare issues that concern them the most. Individual senators hold much more power in advancing the health bill than individual House members, and if Senate Republicans can't find a balance among their caucus, the ObamaCare repeal effort could be doomed.The Senate will only need 51 votes to pass the bill, but because of their slim majority, Republicans can only afford to lose two votes.The centrist senators have several major concerns with the House bill, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), most notably its changes to Medicaid.

But Trump administration officials say that with insurance premiums soaring in many states , consumers should be able to buy As they waited for details of the executive order, health insurers still offering coverage in the online marketplaces created by the health care law were apprehensive.

This video was originally published on May 18, 2017. Health insurers across the country are making plans to raise Obamacare premiums or exit marketplaces amid exasperation with the Trump administration’s.

Clockwise from bottom Patrick Geraghty, CEO of Florida Blue,, US Vice President Mike Pence, Stephen Hemsley, CEO of UnitedHealth Group,, David Cordani, CEO of Cigna, Scott P. Serota, President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Andrew Bremberg, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Joseph R. Swedish, CEO of Anthem, Bernard Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, and Daniel J. Hilferty, President and CEO of of Independence Blue Cross listen as US President Donald Trump speaks before a meeting with health insurance executives in the Roosevelt Room of the White House February 27, 2017 in Washington, DC.© BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images Clockwise from bottom Patrick Geraghty, CEO of Florida Blue,, US Vice President Mike Pence, Stephen Hemsley, CEO of UnitedHealth Group,, David Cordani, CEO of Cigna, Scott P. Serota, President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Andrew Bremberg, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Joseph R. Swedish, CEO of Anthem, Bernard Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, and Daniel J. Hilferty, President and CEO of of Independence Blue Cross listen as US President Donald Trump speaks before a meeting with health insurance executives in the Roosevelt Room of the White House February 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. WASHINGTON — Health insurers across the country are making plans to dramatically raise Obamacare premiums or exit marketplaces amid growing exasperation with the Trump administration's erratic management, inconsistent guidance and seeming lack of understanding of basic health care issues.

The Problems With the FBI’s Email Investigation Went Well Beyond Comey

  The Problems With the FBI’s Email Investigation Went Well Beyond Comey This piece is a collaboration between The New Yorker and ProPublica.On Tuesday, when Donald Trump abruptly dismissed the F.B.I. director, James Comey, his Administration insisted that he was merely following the recommendation of his Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, the two most senior officials in the Justice Department. In a three-page memorandum attached to Comey’s termination letter, the Deputy Attorney General, Rod J. Rosenstein, cited concern for the F.B.I.’s “reputation and credibility.

Trump and Congressional Republicans have spent years working to undermine the ACA. The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress have long said that the ACA is collapsing under But the individual insurance markets in most states had begun to stabilize by 2017, and began to

Trump officials say their moves are aimed at providing greater access to more affordable health insurance options. They are particularly concerned about younger Americans and those who earn too much to qualify for federal subsidies. But Obamacare supporters say these actions will fray the strong

At the same time, state insurance regulators — both Democrat and Republican — have increasingly concluded they cannot count on the Trump administration to help them ensure that consumers will have access to a health plan next year.

The growing frustration with the Trump administration's management — reflected in letters to state regulators and in interviews with more than two dozen senior industry and government officials nationwide — undercuts a key White House claim that Obamacare insurance marketplaces are collapsing on their own.

Instead, according to many officials, it is the Trump administration that is driving much of the current instability by refusing to commit to steps to keep markets running, such as funding aid for low-income consumers or enforcing penalties for people who go without insurance.

A Whistle-Blower Tells of Health Insurers Bilking Medicare

  A Whistle-Blower Tells of Health Insurers Bilking Medicare A former executive at UnitedHealth says he was paid bonuses to make patients look sicker than they were, which led to bigger reimbursements.Nearly 15 years later, a third of all Americans who receive some form of Medicare have chosen the insurer-provided version, which, by most accounts, has been a success.

Trump signs executive order on Obamacare . It directs the secretary of health and human services, as well as other agencies, to interpret regulations as loosely as allowed to minimize the financial burden on individuals, insurers , health care providers and others.

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said Saturday that it was suspending a program that pays billions of dollars to insurers to stabilize health insurance markets under the “It will undermine Americans’ access to affordable care , particularly for those who need medical care the most.”

"All this uncertainty is not helpful," warned Blue Shield of California CEO Paul Markovich, who said health plans are being forced to make plans to raise premiums to account for the turmoil, jeopardizing Americans' coverage.

Markovich was one of the few senior insurance officials who agreed to speak on the record, as many fear retribution from the White House or its allies.

But privately, many executives, including chief executives of major health plans, offered withering criticism of the Trump administration's lack of leadership.

"It's hard to know who's home," said one CEO. "We don't know who is making decisions."

Another chief executive said: "There seems to be no coordination or coherent planning. ... It's a mess."

A third official observed: "There is a sense that there are no hands on the wheel and they are just letting the bus careen down the road."

Trump and GOP congressional leaders insist the marketplaces are collapsing because of flaws in the original law. They cite premium hikes in some states, and decisions by several insurers to stop selling Obamacare plans, including major national companies such as Humana and UnitedHealth Group. That has left some areas of the country with just one health plan option next year.

States get involved in lawsuit to shield Obamacare, saying Trump can’t be trusted

  States get involved in lawsuit to shield Obamacare, saying Trump can’t be trusted State attorneys general 'political bargaining chips' for TrumpLoad Error

The Affordable Care Act touches the lives of most Americans. Some 21 million could lose health insurance if the Trump administration were to The health law took effect just as the opioid epidemic was spreading to all corners of the country, and health officials in many states say that one of its

Updated on. 5:10. Trump Health Officials Toss Obamacare Insurers Another Curveball. Affordable Care Act insurers are facing a fresh round of uncertainty that could drive up premiums or push companies to stop offering coverage through the law, after the Trump administration’s latest move to

"Obamacare has failed," said Alleigh Marre, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "For this reason, Republicans are reforming health care so it delivers access to quality, affordable coverage to the American people."

Several Republican state insurance commissioners also blamed weaknesses in the law for the current instability. "There has been uncertainty with the Affordable Care Act since it started," said Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer Jr. Maryland's largest insurer, CareFirst, is seeking to raise rates by more than 50 percent next year.

But most health plans and state regulators interviewed for this story said the Trump administration has significantly exacerbated turmoil in the marketplaces in recent months, contributing to rising premiums and the threat of marketplaces exits.

"There is no consistency to the messages," said Ceci Connolly, CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, whose members include leading health systems such as Kaiser Permanente and Geisinger Health Plan. "We are very confused."

Trump administration faces decision on ObamaCare payments

  Trump administration faces decision on ObamaCare payments The Trump administration will have to decide Monday whether it wants to continue fighting a court decision that could undo one of ObamaCare's key features. Load Error

The Trump administration has sent mixed signals about whether it will enforce penalties on people who don't buy health insurance. The penalty, though unpopular, is seen as critical to inducing younger, healthier people to get coverage.

Trump and his deputies have also repeatedly threatened to withhold federal aid that helps millions of low-income Americans afford their deductibles and co-pays.

The aid, which reimburses insurers for lowering out-of-pocket costs, was paid by the Obama administration, but is now the subject of a lawsuit by congressional Republicans, who argue Congress must approve the payments.

The Trump administration hasn't taken an official position in the lawsuit. But in recent months, the president publicly mused about stopping the payments to force Democrats to negotiate a repeal of the current law. It remains unclear whether the administration will continue the payments, known as cost-sharing reductions, or CSRs.

In a letter to Washington state insurance regulators earlier this month, California-based Molina Healthcare, a leading provider of Obamacare plans in many states, warned halting CSRs may cause the collapse of the state's market.

"If the federal government's full CSR funding commitments are in jeopardy, we believe that the viability of the exchange market is in immediate jeopardy of failing," wrote Peter Adler, who oversees Molina's plans in Washington.

Ted Cruz tries out compromise in Obamacare repeal talks

  Ted Cruz tries out compromise in Obamacare repeal talks Ted Cruz has not been known for his conciliatory gestures. Former House speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, once dubbed him “Lucifer in the flesh” and said he had “never worked with a more miserable son of a b----" in his life. WASHINGTON — Ted Cruz has not been known for his conciliatory gestures.

The uncertainty created by Trump comes as some Obamacare markets were beginning to stabilize, according to many industry and government officials. In several states, insurers and regulators noted that 2017 was shaping up to be a better year than the first several years of the marketplaces.

Tennessee Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO J.D. Hickey reported in a letter to that state's insurance commissioner this month that "our 2017 performance has improved due to a combination of better claims experience and more sustainable rate structure."

Hickey warned in the letter that "potential negative effects of federal legislative and/or regulatory changes," including not paying CSRs or enforcing the mandate, would require the Tennessee plan "to price-in those downside risks."

Many state insurance regulators are similarly dismayed by the Trump administration's actions, which Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler compared to playing Russian roulette with Americans' health insurance coverage.

"It's ludicrous," said Kreidler, who is a Democrat. "This has real impact on people's lives."

In Colorado, where most consumers continue to have multiple insurance choices, commissioner Marguerite Salazar said the Trump administration threatens the whole market: "My fear is it may collapse," she said.

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, a Republican, is so concerned the turmoil will drive away insurers that he's exploring whether the state can make available limited benefit insurance plans as a stopgap.

The plans would likely cap medical care and prescription drug coverage. But Chaney said, "It would be better than nothing."

Insurance industry officials and state regulators have met repeatedly in recent months with senior Trump administration officials in an effort to explain that administration's actions are jeopardizing health coverage for millions of Americans.

But in many cases, the meetings only left insurers and regulators more confused about the administration's plans, according to attendees.

At one recent meeting, Seema Verma, whom Trump picked to oversee the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, stunned insurance industry officials by suggesting a bargain: The administration would fund the CSRs if insurers supported the House Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

"It made no sense," said one official at the meeting.

Many insurers, as well as every leading patient and physician group, believe the House bill is deeply flawed. Independent analyses suggest the legislation, which Trump has enthusiastically backed, would increase the ranks of uninsured by 24 million over the next decade.

CBO: Republican health care bill raises premiums for older, poor Americans by as much as 850% .
The American Health Care Act would make a low-income 64-year-old in the individual market pay more than half his income for health insurance. Republicans’ American Health Care Act would be devastating to older Americans who rely on the individual insurance market, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. Load Error

Topical videos:

usr: 1
This is interesting!