Trump Administration Looking at Ways to Re-Sabotage Obamacare

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From Andrew Sprung:

While Congress balked at restoring CSR funding for 2019, CMS administrator Seema Verma is now intimating that CMS may ban “silver loading,” the pricing practice that produced this year’s discounts in bronze and gold plans.

I suppose that sounds like Latin to most of you. Here’s what it means:

  • The original version of Obamacare included something called Cost Sharing Reduction. This was a payment directly to insurers that reduced the cost of health insurance for the poor.
  • Last year, President Trump ended CSR payments.
  • To his surprise, however, this didn’t sabotage Obamacare. In fact, due to the way premiums are calculated, it had a modestly positive effect. A full explanation is here.
  • The specific mechanism for the positive effect was something called “silver loading,” where insurance companies raised premiums to make up for CSR but raised them mostly on silver plans. Since silver plans are the benchmark for subsidies, this caused subsidies to increase and the net cost of bronze and gold plans to go down.

In other words, the Trump administration is so incompetent that they even screwed up their effort to sabotage Obamacare. However, having accidentally made Obamacare a little bit better, they’re now desperately scuttling around for ways to make sure their sabotage works the way they wanted it to. Banning silver loading would do this.

What a piece of work these guys are. They’re just bound and determined to screw over their constituents using any means necessary. But look! Scary Mexicans!

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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