The Trump administration announced Saturday evening that it is temporarily freezing billions of dollars of payments to health insurance companies intended to help them manage higher-risk patients, sparking backlash from the industry’s lobbying arm as insurers continue to struggle to adjust to the administration’s repeated attacks on Obamacare.
The federal government provides Obamacare insurers risk adjustment payments, which are supposed to cushion insurers from taking steep loses on high risk patients in the Obamacare marketplace. The government paid out over $10 billion in these in 2017.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service announced the abrupt halt of these payments Saturday evening, citing a February 2018 ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico that invalidates them.
“We were disappointed by the court’s recent ruling,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “As a result of this litigation, billions of dollars in risk adjustment payments and collections are now on hold. CMS has asked the court to reconsider its ruling, and hopes for a prompt resolution that allows CMS to prevent more adverse impacts on Americans who receive their insurance in the individual and small group markets.”
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