The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities warned Friday that restoring cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies participating in the Obamacare markets could end up doing more harm than good. Restoring the payments is part of the bipartisan bill sponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) that may be incorporated into an omnibus spending package later this month.
When President Trump canceled the CSR payments in October, insurance companies responded by raising premiums, which increased the subsidies paid by the government to help Obamacare enrollees cover the cost of their insurance. If the CSR payments are restored, the subsidies would fall, ultimately raising the out-of-pocket price paid by enrollees.
Aviva Aron-Dine, the former Obama administration official who wrote the 16-page report, said that “between 1.6 million and 3.3 million consumers in HealthCare.gov states — or between 18 percent and 36 percent of all marketplace consumers in these 39 states — could face higher costs if CSR payments are restored next year.”