Health Insurers Make Case for Subsidies, but Get Little Assurance From Administration

April 18, 2017, The New York Times, Reed Abelson- Health insurers pressed Trump administration officials on Tuesday to continue billions of dollars in subsidies for low-income people buying plans under the federal health care law, but left with nothing that would dissipate the fog of uncertainty hanging over the industry. The insurers have been closely watching as President Trump and congressional Republicans and Democrats debate the future of those subsidies, known as cost-sharing reductions paid by the Obama administration that now go to the companies covering about seven million individuals to help lower deductibles and co-payments.

Tax Day Is Zero Hour For Health Insurance, Too

April 17, 2017, Kaiser Health News, Julie Rovner- Your federal income taxes are due April 18 and, likely for several million people, so is a fine for failing to get health insurance. Despite a lengthy debate, Congress has not yet acted on a bill to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act. That means the law and almost all of its regulations remain in force, for now. For the majority of tax filers, who had insurance through an employer or government program for 2016, all they have to do is check the box on Form 1040 that says they were covered for a full year. That’s it. Under a decision by the Trump administration, however, leaving that box blank will not get your tax return kicked back to you. The IRS under President Barack Obama also did not reject returns with the box left blank last year or the year before, but it had announced it would step up enforcement of what’s known as the “individual mandate” for tax year 2016.

Congressmen don’t plan to attend local forums

April 16, 2017, The Daily Journal, Caleb Bedillion- No members of the state’s congressional delegation plan to attend a pair of public forums this week organized by Northeast Mississippi constituents. The U.S. Congress is in the midst of a two-week work period, which typically means more visibility from senators and representatives in their home districts and states. Seizing on this window of opportunity, a network of local citizens and activists have organized town hall events this week in Oxford and Starkville, and invitations were sent out to the relevant federal lawmakers. The Oxford town hall will occur on Tuesday, a date selected because it’s when income taxes are due. It will take place at 7 p.m. at the Oxford Conference Center. Following Tuesday’s “tax day” forum, an activist group in Starkville will host a Thursday forum at 7 p.m. at the Oktibbeha County Courthouse.

Does Trump want to be the president who broke health care?

April 16, 2017, The Washington Post, Editorial Board- “OBAMACARE IS dead next month if it doesn’t get that money,” President Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday in a barely veiled threat to defund a crucial part of the Affordable Care Act. The president delivered this threat even though he has no viable replacement plan. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), the president said, “should be calling me and begging me to help him save Obamacare.” No. Mr. Trump should be working to preserve the Affordable Care Act, which is delivering health insurance to millions of Americans. The president’s comments came after he reanimated the drive to repeal and replace Obamacare on Fox Business earlier Wednesday: “We have to do health care first to pick up additional money so that we get great tax reform,” he said. “So we’re going to have a phenomenal tax reform, but I have to do health care first.”

Two Republican lawmakers face anger, from their own voters, on health care

April 16, 2017, The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan and Kelsey Snell- Inside a government building here, far-right Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) scolded his party’s leaders for rolling out an “ill-advised” health-care bill and blamed House Speaker Paul D. Ryan for the ensuing debacle. The next evening on a college campus nestled in the Rocky Mountains, moderate Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) held the House Freedom Caucus - to which Yoho belongs - culpable for the legislation’s defeat. In both places, Republican voters also pointed fingers - at President Trump, Ryan, their members of Congress, or all of them.Fewer than 100 days after Republicans assumed complete control of Washington, their botched attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and broader struggles to cooperate have stoked widespread distrust and despair inside the party.

How Trump insurance changes could affect coverage next year

April 14, 2017, ABC News, Tom Murphy- A much tighter sign-up deadline and coverage delays will be waiting for some health insurance customers now that President Donald Trump’s administration has finished a plan designed to stabilize shaky insurance markets. Shoppers will have a shorter time period to choose a 2018 plan and a harder time enrolling outside that window if they lose a job or have some other special circumstance that affects their coverage. Insurers also will have more flexibility to design lower-cost coverage under a set of changes announced Thursday for the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges.