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 MurrayOvernight Health Care: Planned Parenthood to leave federal family planning program absent court action | Democrats demand Trump withdraw rule on transgender health | Cummings, Sanders investigate three drug companies for 'obstructing' probe Democrats demand Trump officials withdraw rule on transgender health The Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate MORE (D-Wash.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWyden blasts FEC Republicans for blocking probe into NRA over possible Russia donations Wyden calls for end to political ad targeting on Facebook, Google Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity MORE (D-Ore.) and Reps. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneLawmakers call on Trump to keep tech legal shield out of trade talks Hillicon Valley: FTC fines Facebook B in privacy settlement | Critics pan settlement as weak | Facebook also faces FTC antitrust probe | Senate panel advances 'deepfakes' legislation | House passes anti-robocall bill House passes anti-robocall bill MORE (D-N.J.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDemocrats: Trump plan could jeopardize 500,000 children's free school meals Lawmakers, press hit the courts for charity tennis event House approves bill raising minimum wage to per hour 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.

ADVERTISEMENT
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.