Price won't commit to federal subsidies for insurers under ACA

If health insurers were looking for assurances from Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price regarding federal subsidies offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during his appearance before the Senate Finance Committee last Thursday, they didn’t get it.

As Healthcare Finance News reports, Price “declined to say whether the Trump administration would continue to fund cost-sharing insurer subsidies, the uncertainty of which has prompted some insurers to consider increasing their rates.”

Uncertainty has prompted some insurers to pull out of the online exchanges created under the ACA to offer health coverage for Americans who can’t get insurance through their employers or aren’t eligible for federal programs such as Medicare or Medicaid.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, said during Price’s appearance before the finance committee that the Trump administration is intentionally setting the exchanges up for failure in order to make the ACA’s fate a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"To me, it's like pulling the rug out from under someone and going, 'Oh my God, they fell down,’” Stabenow said. “The uncertainty is one of the top reasons insurers have cited when explaining whether they're posting higher rates for the next year or leaving the markets altogether. If we spent a tenth of the time we've spent undermining the healthcare system to improving it, we could me making unbelievable gains."

Price disputed Stabenow’s assertion, according to Healthcare Finance News.

"Nobody is interested in the system dying," Price said. "We're interested in making sure the system works for families and those who are dying. Nobody is cheering the challenges we have in the system." 

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