Insurers call on Congress to act on ObamaCare payments

Insurers call on Congress to act on ObamaCare payments
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Several health groups, including insurers and hospital associations, signed a joint letter to House and Senate leadership on Saturday, urging Congress to fund cost-sharing reduction (CSR) benefits, following President Trump's decision to halt the key ObamaCare payments.

"There will be serious consequences without Congressional action: millions will face higher premiums, fewer choices, and less access to the medical care they need. Let’s work together on solutions that deliver the access, care, and coverage that the American people deserve," the letter said.

The coalition that penned the letter is made up of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Benefits Council, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

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The administration late Thursday said it would stop providing insurers with the CSR payments required under the Affordable Care Act, as Trump has long threatened to do. Administration officials said the payments were unconstitutional bailouts of the insurance industry.

The payments are aimed at helping low-income people afford co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs associated with health-insurance policies.

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The move has been hit with fierce backlash from both sides of the political aisle. 

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) described Trump's decision as "devastating," while Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said the move would not lead to more access to health-care coverage. 

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit in federal court in California on Friday to stop the administration from halting the payments. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called for Congress to quickly bring back the payments, possibly through must-pass legislation later this year.

Despite the backlash, the administration is standing firm behind its decision. 

The president took to Twitter on Friday to blast Democratic reaction to the move, saying they "must get smart and deal."