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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

GOP Is Messing Up the Politics of Health

Mark Murray reports at NBC:
Half of Americans say they have little to no confidence that Republican efforts to repeal and replace Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act would make things better, according to results from the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Fifty percent say they have little to no confidence that these GOP efforts would improve things - a 16-point increase from February's NBC/WSJ poll, which was taken before House Republicans pulled their health-care legislation from the floor in March. (Republicans are trying to revive the legislation, but there still isn't a definite path forward.)
David Nather reports at Axios that House Republicans want to cut Affordable Care Act insurer payments.
The Kaiser Family Foundation did the math on those ACA insurer payments, to see what happens if Congress doesn't provide them because of Republican objections. Turns out the federal government would actually have to spend $2.3 billion more in that case, because it would have to pay for bigger tax credits for ACA customers.
Here's why:
  • If insurers don't get paid back for the cost-sharing reduction subsidies they have to give to low-income customers, they'll get the money another way — by raising premiums. (If they don't leave the marketplaces altogether.)
  • Higher premiums = bigger tax credits, because the tax credits are supposed to cushion the blow of the rate hikes.
  • If the tax credits are bigger, the federal government spends more.
  • The government would save $10 billion in 2018 by not making the insurer payments, but it would have to spend $12.3 billion more on the tax credits.
  • Net increase in government spending: $2.3 billion.