WASHINGTON (AP) -- A senior House Republican on Thursday called for immediate action to stabilize shaky health insurance markets around the country, amid concerns that the GOP could get blamed for rising premiums and dwindling choice next year.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said the government should keep paying billions of dollars in "cost-sharing" subsidies that help low-income people with deductibles and copayments. The $7 billion is under a cloud because of mixed signals from the Trump administration and a lawsuit originally filed by House Republicans.
"We should act within our constitutional authority now to temporarily and legally fund (subsidy) payments as we move away from Obamacare," Brady said at a budget hearing. He and his GOP colleagues are trying to roll back President Barack Obama's signature law that provided the financial assistance in the first place.
"Insurers have made clear the lack of certainty is causing 2018 proposed premiums to rise significantly," added Brady. That's also a midterm election year, in which every seat in the Republican-controlled House and 33 seats in the GOP-controlled Senate are on the ballot.
Among those insurers is BlueCross Blue Shield of North Carolina, which recently requested a nearly 23 percent increase in average premiums next year. The company said its increase for 2018 would have been much less - about 9 percent - if it had a guarantee that the government would continue to make full subsidy payments.
Read more at Associated Press
Top Republican seeks action to steady insurance market
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