2 senators reach deal to save Obamacare subsidies—for now

The deal's passage remains uncertain.

Oct 17, 2017, 3:35 pm

Tech

Andrew Couts 

Andrew Couts

Photos via Senate Democrats/Flickr (CC-BY) AMSF2011/Flickr (CC BY), Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA)

A group of United States senators have reached a deal that aims to stabilize the health insurance markets after President Donald Trump stopped funding key healthcare subsidies.

The deal, reached by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), would provide funding for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act for two years while giving states greater flexibility on rules under the federal healthcare law, the New York Times reports.

Trump has reportedly expressed his support for the bipartisan plan. But it still faces an uphill battle in Congress, especially in the House of Representatives, where conservative lawmakers have remained steadfast in their opposition to continuing Obamacare policies.

The subsidies, known as cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs), provide financial support for low-income Americans who cannot otherwise afford insurance by reimbursing insurance companies for offering discounted premiums. Without CSRs, insurance companies are expected to raise premiums overall to offset the cost.

Despite his support for the deal, Trump characterized CSRs—which amount to approximately $7 billion this year—as a boon for insurance providers.

“The gravy train ended the day I knocked out the insurance companies’ money, which was last week,” Trump said on Monday. “Hundreds of millions of dollars a month handed to the insurance companies for very little reason. Believe me. I want the money to go with the people. I want the money to go to poor people that need it. I want the money to go to people that need proper health care, that need proper health care. Not to insurance companies, which is where it’s going as of last week. I ended that.”

Read the full report at the New York Times here.

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*First Published: Oct 17, 2017, 3:35 pm