by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Robert King of the Washington Examiner explains that some Affordable Care Act supporters bristle at the mention of the term “bailout.”
Democrats and some Republicans are fighting attempts by President Trump to label payments to insurers for lowering deductibles for poor people as “bailouts.”
The pushback could play a key role in landing enough political support for a short-term bipartisan deal to stabilize Obamacare’s exchanges, including making the insurer payments. Lawmakers and experts say the cost-sharing reduction payments to lower deductibles and co-pays, known as CSRs, are honoring an agreement to reimburse Obamacare insurers and are not bailouts.
Trump has shown little interest in a bipartisan healthcare package after the Senate’s narrow defeat of legislation to partially repeal and replace Obamacare late last month.
Soon after the Senate voted 49-51 on July 28 against a “skinny” repeal bill, President Trump tweeted that if a new healthcare bill isn’t brought up again, then “BAILOUTS for insurance companies” would end soon.
Trump likely was referring to cost-sharing reduction payments. He has the power to decide whether to make the payments and hasn’t told insurers if they will be made next year.
In 2016, the Obama administration paid $7 billion in cost-sharing payments to insurers.