Bipartisan ACA bill gets a challenge from the right


A bipartisan measure to stabilize the US health insurance markets would save the government money, but do little to cut the cost of premiums for consumers or substantially change the number of people who have insurance to help pay their medical bills, a new independent study concluded Wednesday. Insurers say they had to raise monthly premium rates by 20 percent on average for 2018 to account for the lost subsidies, but could reduce consumers costs if they are restored.

A bipartisan bill to stabilize Obamacare's markets would save taxpayers almost $4 billion through 2027 but have an insignificant impact on the number of people who hold health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation said Wednesday. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending the subsidies.

A CBO score released in August estimated that not funding CSR payments would actually cost the federal government $194 billion through 2026.

The two senators spearheaded efforts to reach a compromise on cost-sharing reductions, or federal subsidies for insurance companies that are required by law to provide certain low-income individuals cheaper plans, for two years.

The GAO report also found that almost all of the insurance issuers sampled are not itemizing the required separate abortion surcharge on its bills - confirming that the Obama Administration is ignoring the law's abortion accounting gimmick. Attracting these younger customers would likely lower premiums across the board, saving the government more than $1 billion in subsidies. But as NBC News reported, GOP leaders are unlikely to bring it up for a vote without the president's explicit support.

Trump, who as a candidate promised to get rid of Obamacare, has been frustrated by the inability of a Congress led by his own party to pass a bill to repeal and replace it, and has taken steps that bypass lawmakers to chip away at the law.

GAO found that in 2014, taxpayers funded more than a thousand Obamacare health plans that subsidize abortion on demand-even late-term abortion-in defiance of the Hyde Amendment that Obama publicly said he would honor.

The proposal by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Republican Representative Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, includes provisions to suspend requirements for individuals and employers to buy health coverage under Obamacare.

The Hatch-Brady bill has not yet been analyzed by the CBO.