Another installment in the “sigh and blame Manchin” approach to politics: expiring ACA subsidies
One of the biggest design flaws in the ACA is that subsidies for low-income families buying policies on insurance exchanges were too low. Congress raised the subsidies temporarily, but now they are set to expire right before the November election. From Huffpo:
Health insurance premiums for millions of Americans will spike if Congress doesn’t act in the next few months, with particularly big increases in politically contested states, according to a report that the liberal advocacy group Families USA released on Monday morning.
The subject of the report is the fate of some extra, but temporary, financial assistance available to people who buy insurance on their own through HealthCare.gov or state-run online marketplaces like the Maryland Health Connection, Minnesota’s MNSure and Your Health Idaho.
The assistance, which President Joe Biden and the Democrats enacted as part of last year’s COVID-19 relief program, has reduced premiums by hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars a year.
But the assistance is set to end in December. If that happens, prices will go back up and consumers will start to learn about the increases in the fall.
. . .
Biden, Democratic leaders and Manchin have all said they would still like to enact some of Build Back Better’s provisions, as part of a much smaller bill. But there’s been no visible progress toward a compromise.
Why is this all on Democrats?
Sure, Democrats should try to pass a bill raising taxes on the wealthy and using at least part of the revenue to achieve their important policy goals on social welfare and climate. But why is this the only arrow in their political quiver? Why doesn’t Biden send McConnell a letter pointing out that these subsidies are set to expire and that nothing can get done in the Senate without the cooperation of Republicans, and expressing confidence that Republicans do not just represent corporate interests and that McConnell will either support Democratic efforts to extend the subsidies or propose legislation of his own?
Asking for Republican cooperation on popular policies they oppose is likely to fail, but so is the “sigh and blame Manchin” approach to legislation. The advantage of asking for cooperation is that it helps the public understand why nothing is getting done. I just don’t get the blame Manchin approach to politics.
If you recall. the ACA was passed one vote away from a much better program. The Senator from Aetna in a Manchin manner held it hostage. The Dems bowed to his wishes to get it passed. Also on the table was LTC. Kennedy died and it went by the wayside.
Efforts by Repubs to sink it are exhausting. In the Cromnibus Bill (2014 budget), Freddie Upton inserted Section 227 which restricted funds from being transferred to the ACA in support of the Risk Corridor program. The results of this insertion bankrupted Coops, caused insurance companies to withdraw from the ACA, increased premiums, and forced people back on to the market to find insurance.
By just one vote (McCain), McConnell’s repeal of the ACA was blocked and trump lost on one of his promises.
We have a chameleon for a Senator from WV. He will not say what he wants or doesn’t want. He is trying really hard to emulate Lieberman.
There is more of the table. Some detail.
Basically, a Silver Level 2 plan is free for those making <200% FPL. It is also a better plan than the next level Silver or Gold. People up to 250% FPL can be subsidized partially for the same plan. There was an expansion of Medicaid also and if I remember correctly the gap between 100% and 138% was fixed temporarily. The subsidy cliff was increased up to 600% FPL. A brief and hopefully correct rundown of what is at stake.
I don’t know why Schumer doesn’t talk to McConnell along with that letter from Biden. They should try in spite of their history of resistance. The timing is right to try, just before Mid-Term Elections.
There is another issue which has been brought to the attention of SCOTUS, Nondelegation. Congress can not delegate authority to Non legislative bodies. The 5th Circuit I believe has ruled on this on another issue. SCOTUS will take that up. SCOTUS will rule in favor of Repubs.
You are right in saying they should try.
Schumer’s behavior is perplexing. From the outside, it certainly seems possible that he is trying to shore up support on the left to prevent a challenge by AOC. But hopefully they will pull a rabbit out of a hat, one way or another.
A bit off topic but related and a different body. Garland appears to be ready to do something. He asked for the transcripts taken in the House investigation. The House appears to be resisting handing them over. November is a short ways away.
McCain was just one of the three GOP Senators who voted against killing the ACA. Amazes me he gets sole credit.
Murkowski and Collins.
I expect Murkowski and Collins would not have gone along with a better form of healthcare such as Medicare for All or Single Payer.
Nor would McCain, nor any GOP Senator or House Rep.
I guess we both understand the dynamics. Is it ok if I leave a chalk message on your sidewalk about this?
Tasteful I hope.
Sorry run, just a bone to pick. LTC was passed. The CLASS Act. Obama signed it into law. But once the Chief Actuary of the program said it was unsustainable, and for other political reasons, the law was repealed when Obama signed the 2013 tax reform bill.
Washington has attempted to establish a state LTC fund covering all W-2 wage earners via a small payroll tax. The lifetime benefit for those who qualify is around $40,000. It was supposed to begin January 1, 2022 but Olympia had to postpone the implementation of the new law due to a number of issues. W-2 wage earners do have the ability to opt out of the program by providing proof of private LTC coverage.
You gonna leave me linkless?
Oh no. I am a very poor computer operator but for the CLASS Act, you probably are already familiar with it and for the Washington LTC scheme check out https://wacaresfund.wa.gov/.
That is the State of Washington and not the Federal Government. WA Cares Fund I was referring to the Federal Government, That is kind of kool though as long as the state does not borrow against it like some states have don with pensions.
I have wondered why the failure of the initial coops didn’t just result in a second “generation” of coops getting created. I understand that the risk corridor programs were time-limited and expired years ago, so whatever the market position that coops back then we’re thinking they would have now are likely still achievable.
They suffered substantial losses when the Risk Corridor was blocked by Upton, Kingston, with the help of then Senator Sessions. Some went out of business as a result. Matter of information, a similar and ongoing program exists for Part D. Coops also operate on lower margins. The inclusion of them was to provide competition against the much bigger commercial healthcare insurance companies. This was mostly political and a nod to commercial insurance companies.
I love the thought process that Schumer and/or his staff doesn’t communicate with McConnell and/or his staff on an almost daily basis. And the “proof ” of that? It isn’t happening so they’re not even trying. Can’t imagine what people think Schumer and/or his staff do all day.