CBO: Withholding ACA Subsidies Would Send Premiums Soaring

CBO: Withholding ACA Subsidies Would Send Premiums Soaring August 16, 2017

Trump has been threatening to not pay the subsidies on insurance premiums for those who qualify through the Obamacare exchanges as early as next month. The Congressional Budget Office released a report on Tuesday showing that this would send premiums skyrocketing.


Scrapping Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies would increase premiums on the most popular plans by 20 percent next year and swell the deficit by $194 billion over a decade, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

President Donald Trump has threatened to eliminate the subsidies, estimated to be $7 billion this year, before the next payments are due next week. Insurers rely on the subsidies to reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income Obamacare customers.

Insurers have already cited uncertainty surrounding the funding as a reason for big premium increases for 2018. Health plans might decide to bolt the Obamacare markets altogether if the payments go away. They have until late September in most states to make final decisions about 2018 participation.

And here’s the reality that Trump, who is as ignorant on health care policy as I am on Bulgarian folk music, doesn’t understand: This is the only possible outcome. Withholding those subsidies cannot possibly lead to any result other than that. Trump is playing a ridiculous game of chicken with people’s lives and with the health of our entire health care system.

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