White House spokesman says Obamacare payments will be made for August

White House spokesman says Obamacare payments will be made for August

Instead of defending the subsidy payments, Trump has been reviewing month-to-month whether he'll continue to pay insurance companies.

Throughout 2017, the Congressional Budget Office has issued reports about the effects that the various Republican plans to repeal or modify Obamacare would have on the public as well as the federal budget.

If the Trump administration follows through on its threat to stop paying insurance companies a controversial set of subsidies established by the Affordable Care Act, the government will lose money rather than saving it, according to a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. With an estimated 6 million people qualifying for the help, the payments totaled about $7 billion this year and can greatly reduce deductibles. "Several factors may affect insurers' decisions to not participate-including lack of profitability and substantial uncertainty about enforcement of the individual mandate and about future payments for cost-sharing reductions".

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says it is offering the extra time so insurance companies can plan ahead in case the government decides to end the payments. Different timing would produce different outcomes, but CBO staff said the results would be less destabilizing for the marketplaces if a decision is announced before insurers set their rates by September 5. Withholding those subsidies can not possibly lead to any result other than that.

For months, Trump has been raising the prospect of terminating payments as a way to trigger a crisis and get Democrats to negotiate on a health care bill.

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Trump may have agreed to pay the subsidies Wednesday, but the wavering decision-making process signals a troublesome tactic to potential partners looking to strike deals with the federal government. An abrupt cutoff of the cost-reduction payments would be among the quickest ways to make that happen. That leaves two counties at risk of having no insurers selling plans next year - Menominee County in Wisconsin and Paulding County in Ohio.

The Obama administration simply paid the insurers anyway, sparking a lawsuit, and now Trump has threatened to cancel the payments as a way of encouraging Congress to pass a new health-care law. That's because almost 80 percent of people receiving coverage on the marketplaces also receive a second kind of government assistance to help pay monthly premiums.

The nonpartisan CBO scored the policy option at the request of House Democratic leadership, releasing its results just weeks after the Senate failed to deliver on a seven-year campaign promise to repeal and replace the federal health care law.

The 2018 increases, however, are not as high those sought by the 15 insurers operating on the exchange. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is working on such legislation.

A district court judge agreed with House Republicans, and the case has been on hold before the US appeals court in Washington.

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