Overnight Healthcare: Governors press Trump to make ObamaCare payments

Overnight Healthcare: Governors press Trump to make ObamaCare payments
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Governors from both parties are calling on the Trump administration to fully fund key subsidies to insurers under ObamaCare.

President Trump is threatening to cancel the payments, known as cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), as he talks of how ObamaCare will "implode."

Members of the National Governors Association, led by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), on Wednesday warned ending the payments would be a mistake.

"A first critical step in stabilizing the individual health insurance marketplaces is to fully fund CSRs for the remainder of calendar year 2017 through 2018," the group said in a statement. "This is a necessary step to stabilize the individual marketplaces in the short term as Congress and the Administration address long-term reform efforts."


The CSR payments are crucial for insurers, compensating them for covering some out-of-pocket costs for certain low-income consumers. They total $7 billion for fiscal 2017, and regardless of whether the administration pays them, insurers would still be on the hook to offer these discounts to enrollees -- they just wouldn't be reimbursed for doing so.

Insurers across the country must decide in the next month whether to participate in the individual marketplaces and finalize their rates for 2018.

The uncertainty surrounding CSR payments is resulting in significantly higher premiums for consumers in many parts of the country and insurers exiting the marketplace altogether.

Read more here.


Trump budget chief: Senate shouldn't give up on healthcare 

The White House is urging Senate Republicans not to give up on healthcare after an ObamaCare repeal bill failed on the floor last week.

"I think our point is this: Let's not move on from healthcare just because you failed by one vote," White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Wednesday on CNN.

"The president isn't giving up on healthcare. Neither should the Senate." 

But GOP leaders appear ready to move on after a scaled-down "skinny" repeal bill failed to pass last Friday by a single vote.

The Senate's Health Committee chairman, meanwhile, said his panel will hold hearings after the August recess on bipartisan efforts to stabilize the ObamaCare exchanges.

But the White House isn't ready to give up on efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 healthcare law.

Read more here.


Progressive groups urge Democrats to reject anti-abortion candidates 

Leading progressive groups issued a "statement of principles" Wednesday urging the Democratic Party to embrace abortion rights and to reject "pro-life" Democratic candidates in 2018. 

The statement comes after Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Ben Ray Luján (N.M.) told The Hill the party wouldn't withhold financial support from Democratic candidates that oppose abortion rights. 

"Democrats will fail to retake power in 2018 if we allow ourselves to be forced into a false choice between a populist progressive agenda and reproductive justice," Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America (DFA), said in a statement. 

"Abortion rights are inextricably tied to the fight against economic and racial inequity, full stop, and until all leaders of our party fully understand that we're going to keep losing."

The statement of principles was signed by 11 groups, led by DFA and NARAL Pro-Choice America. It states that the party must field candidates who support abortion rights or lose elections.

Read more here.

McCain: Arizona was about to get 'screwed' by GOP healthcare plan 

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainEx-Montenegro leader fires back at Trump: ‘Strangest president' in history McCain: Trump plays into 'Putin's hands' by attacking Montenegro, questioning NATO obligations Joe Lieberman urges voters to back Crowley over Ocasio-Cortez in general MORE (R-Ariz.) explained Wednesday that he voted against a scaled-down ObamaCare repeal bill last week because people in his home state would be deeply hurt by the measure.

"Arizona was about to get screwed, if I may, under this plan," McCain told Phoenix-based radio host Mike Broomhead.

McCain said that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a fellow Republican, had asked him to push for three amendments in order to make the measure acceptable for the state to adopt.

Arizona is facing "very serious problems," McCain said, listing higher premiums and deductibles as well as having only one insurer in the state's healthcare marketplace.

Read more here.


What we're reading 

Former healthcare.gov CEO joins insurer betting big on ObamaCare (Vox)

In breakthrough, scientists edit a dangerous mutation from genes in human embryos (The New York Times)

Some insurers seek ACA premium increases of 30 percent and higher (The Wall Street Journall)


State by state 

After ObamaCare repeal fails, Georgia leaders to seek Medicaid waivers (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

UK professor criticized Bevin's Medicaid plan. Then he was fired. (Lexington Herald Leader)

Healthcare fight leaves Nevada's Heller in an impossible spot (MSNBC)