Brocker.Org: States attempt to bypass Trump and take on the fight to make sure Obamacare doesn’t ‘explode’

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Barack
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A group of 15 states, along with Washington, DC, is stepping
into the fight to save Obamacare’s insurance exchanges.

The states have filed a motion to intervene in a court case
that could decide whether or not critical payments, called
cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, are made to insurers in
the Affordable Care Act’s individual insurance exchanges.

In 2015, the House of Representative filed a lawsuit against the
Obama administration to prevent the White House from funding
the CSR payments in their current fashion. The GOP-led House
argued that since the payments were not appropriated by Congress
as part of the ACA, they were unconstitutional.

(Check
out a full explanation of the CSR payments »
)

In 2016, a federal judge ruled in favor of the House, putting CSR
payments in jeopardy. The Obama administration filed an appeal.
Now, President Donald Trump’s administration must decide whether
to continue or drop the appeal.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to drop the case and end the
payments, which experts say would cause premiums to
skyrocket and likely lead to even more insurers ditching the
Obamacare exchanges. The states say his threats are why
they decided to step in by filing a motion to intervene,
allowing them to continue the appeal even if Trump drops it.

“If successful, the suit could — to use the President’s
expression — ‘explode’ the entire Act,” the filing says. “Until
recently, States and their residents could rely on the Executive
Branch to respond to this attack. Now, events and statements,
including from the President himself, have made clear that any
such reliance is misplaced.”

The states argued that pulling the payments would endanger the
health insurance of millions of people on the exchanges.

From the filing (emphasis added):

“The loss of funds and financial uncertainty threatened by this
case would lead at least to higher health insurance costs for
consumers, and more likely to many insurers abandoning the
individual health insurance market. The number of uninsured
Americans would go back up, hurting vulnerable individuals and
directly burdening the States. The wrong decision could
trigger the very system-wide ‘death spirals’ that central ACA
features, such as stable financing, were designed to
avoid.

The states also argued that the rise in the uninsured population
would put a financial burden on state budgets, since they would
have to cover more hospital costs when uninsured get
care. Thus, they argued they should be able to carry on the
case even if the Trump administration drops the appeal.

The filing says the need to step in is urgent, since insurance
companies are already leaving the exchanges due to uncertainty.
States including Virginia, Iowa, and Nebraska have all seen
insurers ditch their exchanges over the past month.

“Meanwhile, the President has increasingly made clear that he
views decisions about providing access to health insurance for
millions of Americans—including the decision whether to continue
defending this appeal—as little more than political bargaining
chips,” the filings said. “The States and their residents cannot
continue to rely on the Executive Branch to represent them in
this appeal.”

The intervention must be approved by the court in order for the
states to become part of the case.

Here’s a rundown of the states (and DC) on the filing:

  • California
  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • The District of Columbia

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