GOP chairman: GOP should continue ObamaCare insurer payments

GOP chairman: GOP should continue ObamaCare insurer payments
© Greg Nash

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyLawmakers bicker over how to go after tax cheats GAO report finds maternal mortality rates higher in rural, underserved areas Republicans attack Biden agenda after disappointing jobs report MORE (R-Texas) called for the funding of ObamaCare's insurer payments Thursday, acknowledging that the uncertainty is leading to proposed rate increases for 2018.

The Trump administration has not indicated whether it will fund the cost-sharing reduction payments, which reimburse insurers for giving discounted deductibles and copays to low-income customers, past May.

Insurers want to know whether the payments will continue through next year. If they don't, they warn, premiums could increase next year to make up for it.

“As the Senate considers the AHCA, we must work together to deliver an expedited solution to help stabilize the insurance market and help lower premiums for Americans trapped in Obamacare today. We should act within our constitutional authority now to temporarily and legally fund Cost Sharing Reduction payments as we move away from Obamacare and toward a patient-centered system that truly works for the American people," Brady said at a hearing on President Trump's budget request for the Health and Human Services Department.


“Insurers have made clear the lack of certainty is causing 2018 proposed premiums to rise significantly. When these payments are funded by Congress, families trapped in Obamacare should expect these proposed premiums to be reduced significantly."

Trump has said he is waiting to see what happens to the ObamaCare repeal before making a decision on the payments.

Several Republican lawmakers have said the payments should be funded while an ObamaCare replacement is worked out.

Speaking with reporters later, Brady declined to say whether he was pursuing separate legislation to fund the payments. 

"We're working with our leadership and the Trump administration to determine the next steps forward," Brady said, adding that there are a "broad range of options." 

The House GOP sued the Obama administration over the payments, arguing they were being made illegally.

The court sided with the GOP and the Obama administration filed an appeal.

That appeal is still on hold as the Trump administration makes a decision.