Leading healthcare groups urge Trump to fund ObamaCare payments

Leading healthcare groups urge Trump to fund ObamaCare payments
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Leading healthcare industry groups are urging Republicans to fund key ObamaCare payments that could lead to chaos if discontinued. 

Groups including America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Medical Association, and the American Hospital Association wrote letters to President Trump and congressional leaders saying the payments, known as cost-sharing reductions should continue. 

“The most critical action to help stabilize the individual market for 2017 and 2018 is to remove uncertainty about continued funding for cost sharing reductions,” the groups wrote. 

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The payments reimburse insurers for giving discounted deductibles to low-income ObamaCare enrollees. House Republicans sued the Obama administration, arguing the payments were unconstitutional because Congress never appropriated the money. That lawsuit is ongoing, and Republicans need to decide what to do about the payments. 

Democrats fear the Trump administration could cancel the payments as a way to sabotage ObamaCare. 

Insurers warn that they will have to spike premiums or drop out of the market altogether if the payments are canceled, and they've threatened to move ahead with that if the situation remains unresolved.

“We urge the Administration and Congress to take quick action to ensure [cost-sharing reductions] are funded,” the groups wrote. “We are committed to working with you to deliver the short-term stability we all want and the affordable coverage and high-quality care that every American deserves.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also signed the letter, which is notable because that the group tends to align with Republicans. 

Insurers are pushing for Congress to provide a specific appropriation for the funding.