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Trump Obamacare move seen harming Americans, bipartisan prospects

October 15, 2017, REUTERS, David Morgan- U.S. President Donald Trump will hurt low-income Americans by doing away with Obamacare subsidies and make it harder for him to engage in bipartisan talks with Democrats as Congress edges toward a possible government shutdown, lawmakers said on Sunday. The White House has announced that the Republican administration will stop paying billions of dollars to insurers to help low-income consumers meet out-of-pocket medical expenses, as part of the president’s step-by-step effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Democratic former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law. The expected loss of cost-sharing subsidies, estimated to be worth $7 billion this year and $10 billion in 2018, has prompted worries about insurance market chaos and undermined the prices of insurer and hospital company shares.

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Pro-Trump states most affected by decision to end ACA subsidies

October 15, 2017, Associated Press, Christina A. Cassidy and Meghan Hoyer- President Donald Trump’s decision to end a provision of the Affordable Care Act that was benefiting roughly 6 million Americans helps fulfill a campaign promise, but it also risks harming some of the very people who helped him win the presidency. Nearly 70 percent of those benefiting from the so-called cost-sharing subsidies live in states Trump won last November, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. The number underscores the political risk for Trump and his party, which could end up owning the blame for increased costs and chaos in the insurance marketplace.

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Key questions and answers about Trump’s health care move

October 14, 2017, ABC News, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press- President Donald Trump’s move to stop paying a major “Obamacare” subsidy will raise costs for many consumers who buy their own health insurance, and make an already complicated system more challenging for just about everybody. Experts say the consequences will vary depending on how much money you earn, the state you live in, and other factors.
Overall, Trump’s decision will make coverage under the Affordable Care Act less secure, because more insurers may head for the exits as their financial losses mount. All of this is happening with the Nov. 1 start of sign-up season a couple of weeks away. Here are some questions and answers as state regulators, insurance executives, consumer groups and number crunchers try to analyze the potential impacts.

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Five things to know about Trump’s controversial ObamaCare decision

October 14, 2017, The Hill, Nathaniel Weixel- The Trump administration’s decision to end payments to insurers meant to help low-income people afford their insurance has set off a battle in the courts and new fears about the possible collapse of former President Obama’s health-care law. Ending the payments is the most dramatic step taken to date by President Trump, who has been frustrated with the GOP Congress’s inability to repeal the law.Trump has talked about allowing ObamaCare to implode, and his critics believe he is pushing that along with his actions. Here’s what ending the payments will mean, both for the law itself and for the people who use it to purchase health insurance.

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Yes, You Can Still Enroll in Obamacare: Five Answers to Questions About Getting Covered

October 14, 2017, The New York Times, Haeyoun Park- President Trump continues to scale back the Affordable Care Act, dealing twin blows to the law this week. But you can still sign up for coverage for 2018 because the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. Here’s some guidance.

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Congress’ uncertain path on Obamacare subsidy fix

October 13, 2017, Politico, Jennifer Haberkorn and Adam Cancryn- Congressional Republicans were caught off guard by the Trump administration’s decision Thursday to pull $7 billion in Obamacare funding next week, leaving them scrambling over whether or how to replace the critical subsidy funds. President Donald Trump had been threatening for months to cut off the funds, which insurers use to help low-income people pay their deductibles and co-pays, but Congress had a scant warning when he finally stopped them, effective immediately, less than three weeks before the Nov. 1 start of the next open enrollment season. A bipartisan attempt by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to stabilize Obamacare, which would fund the subsidies for up to two years, has already encountered scepticism from GOP conservatives and growing opposition from the White House. The two lawmakers plan to keep talking - but it’s a tough

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Weakening the Affordable Care Act will boost hospitals’ financial burden

October 11, 2017, STAT News, Joel S. Weissman, Marc A. Cohen, and Amanda Reich- While the Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, a number of ACA-weakening strategies put forward by the administration are already underway. These include inadequate enforcement of the individual mandate, imposition of work requirements on Medicaid recipients, and failure to promote enrollment through advertising and outreach. An unintended consequence of these strategies is likely to be an increase in the amount of uncompensated care provided by America’s hospitals.The American Hospital Association defines uncompensated care as all hospital care provided for which no payment is received.

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Trump announces Hargan as new acting HHS secretary

October 10, 2017, The Hill, Rachel Roubein- President Trump announced a new acting secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): Eric Hargan, who the Senate confirmed last week to fill the No. 2 position within HHS. Hargan will fill the post vacated by Tom Price, who came under fire and resigned late last month as HHS secretary after a series of Politico articles reported his use of private and government planes for travel cost taxpayers more than $1 million. After the resignation, Don Wright,
a career official at HHS took over as acting HHS secretary. Trump announced late
Tuesday that Hargan will now fill that role and head the department charged with implementing ObamaCare, a law Trump has said is failing and Republicans failed to repeal and replace this year.

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How Trump is planning to gut Obamacare by executive order

October 8, 2017, Vox, Dylan Scott- With a repeal bill off the table, the Trump administration has drafted an executive order that could blow a huge hole in the Affordable Care Act, according to a source with direct knowledge of the plan.The order would, in effect, exempt many association health plans, groups of small businesses that pool together to buy health insurance, from core Obamacare requirements like the coverage of certain essential health benefits. It would potentially allow individuals to join these plans too, which would put individual insurance marketplaces in serious peril by drawing younger and healthier people away from them.The draft order is also said to broaden the definition of short-term insurance, which is also exempt from the law’s regulations.

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Trump Poised to Sign Order Opening New Paths to Health Insurance

October 7, 2017, The New York Times, Robert Pear- Stymied in his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Trump is poised to issue an order that could ease some federal rules governing health insurance and make it easier for people to band together and buy coverage on their own, administration officials said Saturday. One official said the directive could move the president a step closer to one of his longstanding goals: allowing consumers to buy health insurance across state lines. Conservatives say that interstate sales could expand options for consumers, increase competition in the insurance market and perhaps lower costs.The order, which the administration officials said was likely to be announced in the coming week, would instruct three cabinet departments to take actions to help individuals and small businesses join together to buy insurance through arrangements known as association health plans. Such plans could be sponsored by trade and professional groups and community organizations.

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