KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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As 2018 Marketplace Premiums Appear To Be Heading Up, Trump Suggests He Might Cut Subsidies

The early indications from insurers suggest that premiums for plans sold on the health law's marketplaces will rise on average again next year. Meanwhile, in an interview with the Economist, President Donald Trump talks about the cost-sharing subsidies that the federal government pays insurers to help cover expenses of low-income customers, saying "we don’t have to subsidize" Obamacare. "You know if I ever stop wanting to pay the subsidies, which I will," Trump said. "Anytime I want."

The Wall Street Journal: Kaiser Permanente Chief Pledges To Remain In Affordable Care Act Markets
Kaiser Permanente Chief Executive Bernard Tyson said Thursday that the Affordable Care Act insurance markets are “still very unstable,” but repeated earlier statements that the managed-care system will stick with the markets next year. In remarks at a Wall Street Journal Future of Healthcare event in New York, Mr. Tyson rejected the characterization by Aetna Inc. Chief Executive Mark Bertolini earlier this year that the markets were in a death spiral. “I would not use that term,” Mr. Tyson said, “because we have 20-plus million people getting access to care though the front door. That’s progress.” (Evans, 5/11)

The Hill: Trump Threatens To Stop ObamaCare Payments
President Trump on Thursday threatened to withhold key payments to insurance companies made under ObamaCare, a move that could throw the market into chaos. In an interview with The Economist, Trump said he would cut off the cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) — payments that reimburse insurers for providing discounted out-of-pocket costs to help those with low incomes afford insurance. "[T]here is no Obamacare, it’s dead. Plus we’re subsidizing it and we don’t have to subsidize it. You know if I ever stop wanting to pay the subsidies, which I will," Trump said. "Anytime I want." (Weixel, 5/11)

Fiscal Times: Trump: I Can End Obamacare Health Insurer Subsidies ‘Anytime I Want’
Last Thursday, just a day after House Republicans passed a bill to overhaul the U.S. health care system, President Trump sat down with reporters from The Economist for a wide-ranging interview on his economic policies. The recently released transcript contains numerous eyebrow-raising statements and claims from the president .... But one element of it could very well roil the already turbulent market for individual health insurance plans. ... In the Economist interview, though, Trump went further than he or anyone in his administration has before, suggesting that he might eliminate CSR payments on a whim. (Garver, 5/11)

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