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Fight Over ACA Could Continue

Republican lawmakers and the Trump administration could significantly disrupt the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
March 29, 2017

Republican lawmakers and the Trump administration could significantly disrupt the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by halting billions in payments insurers receive under the law, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. House Republicans already have challenged those payments in court as illegal. Their lawsuit to stop the payments was suspended as Republicans pushed to replace the ACA, but it could now resume. The Trump administration also could decline to contest it and drop the payments. Such actions would stop the government payments reimbursing insurers for subsidies that lower the cost of deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance for about 6 million people who obtain insurance on the ACA’s exchanges.

Meanwhile, insurers are pressing for a quick decision on the lawsuit as they decide whether to participate on the exchanges next year. Republicans have argued that a potential collapse of the ACA could force lawmakers back to the bargaining table. For insurers, the decision by the Trump administration will be the clearest signal yet on whether the president is looking to bolster the ACA or tear it down.

“It opens the door to whether they’re looking to expedite the implosion of the ACA or try to make it work,” said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation.