KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Democratic Attorneys General Seek Role In ACA Subsidy Case: ‘Lives Are At Stake’

The subsidies that are paid to insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act have been a threatened negotiation tool by President Donald Trump and have long been targeted by congressional Republicans. But not paying them would wreak havoc on the marketplaces, insurers and Democrats say.

Reuters: Democratic Attorneys General Seek To Intervene In Obamacare Case
More than a dozen Democratic attorneys general on Thursday sought to intervene to defend a key part of the Obamacare healthcare law - subsidy payments to insurance companies - which is under threat in a court case. The 16 attorneys general, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, filed a motion to intervene in the case pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. (Levin, Hurley and Abutaleb, 5/18)

Morning Consult: States Seek To Join Appeal Of House Obamacare Lawsuit
The 15 states argue that the executive branch is not adequately defending its authority to make the CSR payments and does not represent their interests. They also said that if the appeals court agrees with the previous ruling that the Obama administration unconstitutionally paid the subsidies, states and their residents would be harmed and there would be significantly higher costs for health care. (McIntire, 5/18)

The Wall Street Journal: Democratic Attorneys General Seek To Preserve Affordable Care Act Subsidies
The group, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, filed a motion to intervene in a House Republican lawsuit over the payments. GOP lawmakers have asserted that the payments to insurers are illegal because Congress never appropriated the funding. ... “Millions of families across the country—including hundreds of thousands right here in New York—rely on these subsidies for their basic health care,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a statement about the motion, which was filed in the pending case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. (Armour, 5/18)

The Hill: Dem AGs Look To Protect ObamaCare Payments In Court
At issue are ObamaCare payments known as cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), which reimburse insurers for giving discounted deductibles to low-income enrollees under the ACA. House Republicans sued over the payments, arguing they are being made unconstitutionally without an appropriation. (Sullivan, 5/18)

CQ HealthBeat: Democratic Attorneys General Ask To Intervene In Obamacare Case
Insurance companies have called the payments "critical" to the health insurance offered under the law and the continued success of the struggling insurance markets. Some have already withdrawn. At least one company, Molina, has said it would immediately exit the insurance marketplaces if it is not paid the subsidies. If Molina follows through, that would leave more than half a million people without health insurance. Uncertainty over the payments is also driving up the rates companies have requested for plans they'll sell for 2018. (Mershon, 5/18)

Sacramento Bee: California Takes Legal Action To Prevent Obamacare Cuts 
California led a move Thursday to block one path Republicans in Washington might take to kill critical health care subsidies that go to millions of people using Obamacare. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, joined by attorneys general from 14 other states and the District of Columbia, on Thursday filed a motion to intervene in a pending federal lawsuit filed in 2014 by the Republican-controlled House that sought to unravel a key part of Obamacare – cost sharing subsidies that reduce premiums and copays for low- and middle-income people. (Hart, 5/18)

Boston Globe: 15 States Sue In Bid To Preserve Key Aspect Of Federal Health Law
Attorney General Maura Healey has joined 15 other attorneys general in a bid to preserve a crucial component of the Affordable Care Act — the subsidies that help people cover their copays and deductibles. In a suit filed Thursday, the attorneys general are asking for a role in ongoing litigation over those subsidies, known as cost-sharing reductions. (Freyer, 5/19)

The Star Tribune: State Says $100 Million In MinnesotaCare Funding Is At Risk
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson wants to intervene in a federal dispute over “cost-sharing reductions,” a form of subsidy under the federal Affordable Care Act that the state says is providing more than $100 million per year in funding for the MinnesotaCare health insurance program. Republicans in the U.S. House filed a lawsuit in 2014 to block funding for the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, which in most states help individual consumers lower their out-of-pocket costs with private insurance coverage under the federal health law. (Snowbeck, 5/18)

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