KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Insurers Press CMS For Reassurance On Subsidies But Leave Meeting Empty-Handed

The "insurer bailouts" have been a Republican target for years, but their future has become even more uncertain after President Donald Trump said he may use them as a bargaining chip to get Democrats to the table to negotiate over health care.

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Officials Offer Scant Assurance To Health Insurers On Key ACA Payment
The executives had hoped that Tuesday’s meeting at the Department of Health and Human Services would provide a clearer signal on whether they will continue getting “cost-sharing” payments, which help insurers bring down costs for about six million low-income customers enrolled through ACA insurance exchanges. President Donald Trump has unnerved insurance companies recently by sending mixed signals on the payments, just as the companies are making decisions on whether or not to take part on the ACA exchanges in 2018. (Hackman, Radnofsky and Wilde Mathews, 4/18)

CQ Roll Call: Insurers Meet With CMS To Press For Exchange Subsidy
"We welcomed the chance to share perspectives on the value of coverage delivered to more than 70 million Americans through Medicare Advantage and Medicaid health plans, but reiterated our most pressing concern: the instability in the individual market created by the uncertainty of funding for the cost sharing reduction (CSR) program," said Kristine Grow, an AHIP spokeswoman, in a statement. (Young, 4/18)

Meanwhile, the subsidies may play a role in the brewing spending fight —

The Hill: Health Subsidy Demand Jams Up Shutdown Fight 
Democrats’ demand that ObamaCare subsidies be wrapped into a must-pass spending package is complicating GOP efforts to prevent a government shutdown at the end of next week. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has signaled no plans to include the subsidies in a bill to keep the government open, but President Trump’s recent threat to withhold the subsidies to insurers has led several top Republicans to intervene. (Lillis and Marcos, 4/19)

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