FEATURED:

Top Dems urge Trump officials to reverse suspension of ObamaCare payments

Top Dems urge Trump officials to reverse suspension of ObamaCare payments

Top congressional Democrats are calling on the Trump administration to reverse its decision to suspend key ObamaCare payments to insurers, warning the suspension will cause premiums to rise.

“The Administration's decision to suspend these collections and payments, which are required under federal law, appears to be yet another attempt by the Trump Administration to sabotage the nation's health care system for partisan gain,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services.

"We ask that you take immediate action to reverse this destructive decision that will further destabilize the individual and small group markets that millions of Americans rely on for health insurance,” they added.

Earlier this month, the administration made the surprise announcement that it is suspending $10.4 billion in payments to health insurers, through a program called risk adjustment.

Insurers immediately warned that the decision would lead to increased premiums for 2019 and would cause further uncertainty.

ADVERTISEMENT
Democrats are using the decision as another point in their argument that Republicans are sabotaging the health law and driving up people’s costs, a key midterm election argument.

The letter is signed by the top Democrats on Congress’s health care committees: Reps. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneDems eye ambitious agenda if House flips Hillicon Valley: Facebook rift over exec's support for Kavanaugh | Dem worried about Russian trolls jumping into Kavanaugh debate | China pushes back on Pence House Democrat questions big tech on possible foreign influence in Kavanaugh debate MORE (N.J.), Richard NealRichard Edmund NealTrump makes new overtures to Democrats Key Democrat will ask for Trump tax returns if House flips Better health outcomes at lower costs is a win that everyone can get behind MORE (Mass.), Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDems want to hold officials’ feet to the fire on ObamaCare Healthy business vs healthy people — how will this administration address the two? Washington turns focus to child nutrition MORE (Va.), and Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers MORE (Wash.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump says GOP will support pre-existing condition protections | McConnell defends ObamaCare lawsuit | Dems raise new questions for HHS on child separations Republicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel US to open trade talks with Japan, EU, UK MORE (Ore.).  

The Trump administration cited as its reason for stopping the payments a court ruling from a federal judge in New Mexico finding that the administration had not fully justified its formula for dispensing the funds.

But legal experts and insurers said the administration did not need to go so far as to suspend all payments in response to the ruling. It could have instead simply provided a more detailed explanation of its formula to the court.

Democrats in their letter urged the administration to take that response, and also asked for details on the decision, such as which officials were responsible.

No taxpayer money is involved in the program. Instead money is collected from some insurers (those with healthier patients overall) and redistributed to insurers with sicker and more costly patients to help cover their costs.