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 MurraySenate passes bipartisan bill to permanently fund historically black colleges Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Senate panel approves Trump FDA pick | Biden downplays Dem enthusiasm around 'Medicare for All' | Trump officials unveil program for free HIV prevention drugs for uninsured Trump's FDA nominee approved by Senate panel MORE (D-Wash.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHouse to vote next week on sweeping bill to lower drug prices Trump escalates fight over tax on tech giants Trump administration proposes tariffs on .4B in French goods MORE (D-Ore.) and Reps. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 House to vote next week on sweeping bill to lower drug prices Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware MORE (D-N.J.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottOvernight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 House to vote next week on sweeping bill to lower drug prices Democrats press Trump officials over drop in ObamaCare signups amid website problems 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.