Top Dems blast administration's proposed ObamaCare changes

Top House and Senate Democrats on Wednesday blasted the Trump administration’s proposed changes for ObamaCare insurance markets, saying the rule will lead to increased costs and fewer people being covered.

“The proposed rule is yet another example of this administration’s pattern of complaining about the cost of individual and small group market health insurance coverage, while simultaneously enacting policies that actually increase those costs and remove protections for patients and families,” Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayBuilding strong public health capacity across the US Texas abortion law creates 2022 headache for GOP Top Democrat says he'll push to address fossil fuel tax breaks in spending bill MORE (D-Wash.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongress needs to step up on crypto, or Biden might crush it Democrats face growing storm over IRS reporting provision Best shot at narrowing racial homeownership gap at risk, progressives say MORE (D-Ore.) and Reps. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse Democrats announce bill to rein in tech algorithms House Democrats ramp up probe of FDA approval of Alzheimer's drug Intercept bureau chief: Democrats dropping support of Medicare for All could threaten bill's momentum MORE (D-N.J.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottWatchdog: 7 members of Congress allegedly failed to disclose stock trades Pressure builds on Democratic leadership over HBCU funding Democrats hit crunch time for passing Biden agenda MORE (D-Va.) said in a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma.

The lawmakers said they were especially concerned that the administration wants to change how it calculates eligibility for ObamaCare tax credits.

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The tax credits help lower income people afford their health insurance premiums; the larger a person’s family and the lower his or her income is, the more credit the person may be eligible for.

The Democrats cited the administration’s estimates that the change would result in more than 100,000 people dropping their coverage because the premiums would be unaffordable.

It is long past time for this administration to respond to rising health care costs with something other than proposals that kick individuals off their coverage, increase costs, and make the health care system more complicated,” the lawmakers wrote.

The Democrats also warned the administration not to outlaw a practice states adopted when the Trump administration canceled key ObamaCare subsidies to insurers. Those subsidies helped insurers reduce customers' out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles for low-income people.

When the administration canceled the subsidies, states and insurers found a workaround so people would still be able to get financial assistance and not be hit with high premiums.

If the administration outlawed that workaround, “it would result in billions of dollars in increased costs for consumers and loss of coverage,” the Democrats said.