"This decision reflects CMS' commitment to put federal dollars for the Federally-facilitated Exchanges to their most cost effective use in order to better support consumers through the enrollment process", CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.
"Costs for taxpayers will rise as the federal government spends more on premium subsidies", the group said. Another federal judge upheld the risk adjustment formula in a separate case filed in MA. This is the second round of cuts, after CMS reduced funding for navigators by 41 percent, from $62.5 million, last August, and also cut the budget for Obamacare outreach and advertising by 90 percent.
Some have said CMS is being deliberately disruptive because of its hostility to ObamaCare, and that government programs should not be at the mercy of a lone federal judge.
The idea behind the program is to remove the financial incentive for insurers to "cherry pick" healthier customers. The Republican Congress failed to repeal it, so the Trump administration has redoubled its efforts to gut it. Texas could reach the Court in an upcoming term, potentially placing Kavanaugh in a crucial role to determine whether Americans with pre-existing conditions have the right to access affordable, quality health care. These are people who are not going to go to an insurance agent or broker. In other words, the Trump Administration position in court is in favor of making the payments.
Sen. Ron Wyden of OR, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement that urging navigators to promote non-ACA plans amounts to "federally funded fraud: paying groups to sell unsuspecting Americans on junk plans that allow insurance companies to deny care on a whim and charge whatever they want is nothing but a scam". These plans would bypass the law's protections that prevent companies from charging higher prices to women, older people and those with preexisting medical conditions. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association says freezing the risk adjustment payments will raise premiums for millions of individuals and small business owners and might substantially shrink the number of health plan choices. This year they helped sign up almost 520,000 people for health insurance sold through the ACA exchange in North Carolina.More news: Conte out at Chelsea
Signaling the administration's long-term objectives, Andrew Bremberg, who oversees domestic policy at the White House, told reporters previous year, "The president still firmly believes that Congress must act to repeal and replace Obamacare, but before that can be done, this administration must act to provide relief".
The plan would replace federal payments to insurance companies with block grants to states, allowing states to "innovate" by providing low-cost, low-benefit plans. The Department of Health and Human Services is finishing another rule that will broaden the use of short-term insurance plans, originally intended as a brief bridge for people between jobs. That's because many ACA customers will qualify for federal government premium subsidies, which are still alive and well in Obamacare.
Every action the Trump administration has taken on Obamacare suggests that's their goal.
CMS now wants the navigators to promote these policies in addition to steering people toward ACA-compliant plans and Medicaid. The other half are covered by expanded Medicaid.