Obamacare 'navigator' program cut further by Trump administration

In another act of sabotage Trump slashes Obamacare outreach funding to the bone

The payments also were meant to try to prevent insurers from cherry-picking healthier patients to keep costs down.

And to win a federal grant for next year, navigator organizations will have to be willing to steer the public away from the Affordable Care Act to consider other options, like association health plans and short-term temporary insurance that the Trump Administration is promoting as a cheaper alternative to the ACA. Blue Cross Blue Shield's Serota said the decision to freeze the program will "create turmoil" for insurers and small businesses in the small group market and "undermine Americans' access to affordable coverage". Payments for 2017 are $10.4 billion.

The plan would replace federal payments to insurance companies with block grants to states, allowing states to "innovate" by providing low-cost, low-benefit plans.

Frank Pallone called the cuts more "sabotage" from the administration. The agencies in a statement said that they were seeking legal redress and understanding and will be informing all the involved participants of any bring up-to-date information regarding the current collections or future payments at the right time.

To fully understand the administration's latest move, a little history is in order. That's because many ACA customers will qualify for federal government premium subsidies, which are still alive and well in Obamacare.

"The federal government's decision to suspend payment transfers under the ACA's risk adjustment program could have a significant impact on premiums and place an additional burden on people in the community who can least afford it", CareFirst's president and CEO, Brian Pieninck, said in a statement. But the Saturday announcement via email was unusual for such a major step. In January a federal court in MA ruled the formula wasn't arbitrary and capricious.

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Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, listens during a meeting on healthcare reform at the White House. The payments encouraged health insurers to enroll more consumers in plans and offered some financial help to cover the costs of individuals with higher medical care.

Past year a massive organization of volunteers stepped up to fill in for the navigators the administration slashed, and had remarkable success in getting people enrolled. It's a smaller pot of money with more competitors.

The latest "Obamacare" flare-up does not affect most people with employer coverage.

America's Health Insurance Plans, another large industry group, declined to comment. The administration could just as easily have listened to a judge in MA who ruled the opposite way or awaited the results of an appeal.

In other words, Medicaid, CHIP and whatever other federal assistance is provided would be transformed into voucher programs, which has been the main aim of Trump and congressional Republicans.

Trump came into office promising a swift repeal of "Obamacare", which he said he'd replace with a much better health plan. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 27 percent of people under the age of 65 have what could be considered a pre-existing condition.

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