While Republicans have failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Trump has indicated his willingness to sabotage the law through other means. ACA analyses have repeatedly shown that the individual markets are largely functioning well, with cost-sharing subsidies shielding buyers from premium cost increases. However, Trump and the Department of Health and Human Services, led by Tom Price, are taking steps to destabilize these markets.
Trump is currently threatening to withhold insurance payments known as cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), which allow insurers to offer lower-cost individual market plans with lower out-of-pocket costs to low-income consumers. The Congressional Budget Office has released an analysis concluding termination of CSR payments would increase premiums for the most popular individual market plans by 20% next year and 25% by 2020 and leave about 5% of the population without access to any individual plans at all. By contrast, if the CSRs are left in place, less than 0.5% of the population would live in a region without access to individual market plans.
Despite the CBO’s findings and insurance experts insistence that ACA markets are stable, the Trump administration has refused to commit to paying CSRs. Instead, he and his Republican allies in Congress appear willing to sabotage the ACA for political gain, creating turmoil in the individual insurance market and causing real harm to individuals.
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