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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 MurrayNational reading, math tests postponed to 2022 amid coronavirus surge Democratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition DOJ investigation into Epstein deal ends without recommended action MORE (D-Wash.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers On The Money: Push for student loan forgiveness puts Biden in tight spot | Trump is wild card as shutdown fears grow | Mnuchin asks Fed to return 5 billion in unspent COVID emergency funds Grassley, Wyden criticize Treasury guidance concerning PPP loans MORE (D-Ore.) and Reps. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse Democrats urge Amazon to investigate, recall 'defective' products Asbestos ban stalls in Congress amid partisan fight Pharma execs say FDA will not lower standards for coronavirus vaccine MORE (D-N.J.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottNational reading, math tests postponed to 2022 amid coronavirus surge Trump officials approve Georgia plan to remove healthcare.gov as enrollment option House committee subpoenas Education Department staff over for-profit colleges 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.