Here’s what expiring Obamacare subsidies could mean for consumers

Here’s what expiring Obamacare subsidies could mean for consumers

May 27, 2022 Off By administrator
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Good morning, and happy Friday before a long weekend ☀️ The Health 202 won’t be around on Memorial Day, but we’ll be back in your inbox on Tuesday. 

Today’s edition: The CDC has identified at least nine cases of monkeypox as health officials closely monitor the virus. Mass violence is taking a toll on Americans’ mental and physical health. But first … 

Democrats set up a health insurance cliff they’re now trying to avoid

In California, officials estimate 220,000 people could drop their Obamacare plans next year. Premium payments may more than double for roughly 1 million low-income consumers in the state, and costs could spike for older Americans. 

That’s if Congress doesn’t extend enhanced subsidies helping lower costs for millions of people on the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces. A document detailing these estimates — shared with The Health 202 — was also shared with administration officials and California lawmakers.

It’s a snapshot of the headache Democrats may face right before the midterm elections. There’s increasing anxiety within Democratic circles about the prospect of Congress failing to renew the temporary benefit — and the costs Americans would learn about just weeks before they head to the voting booths. 

Two left-leaning groups released reports detailing the potential impact. More than two dozen vulnerable House Democrats pressed party leadership for action. State marketplace officials stumped for an extension. And a Democrat-aligned group has been holding news conference and events pushing the issue.

Last week, we detailed how the leaders of the state-run insurance marketplaces are pressing Congress and administration officials to ensure the enhanced subsidies don’t lapse. This week, we’re taking a deeper dive into estimates of how premiums and insurance coverage could be affected if Congress doesn’t keep the increased tax credits around.

Democrats’ dilemma: Last year, the party’s coronavirus relief package boosted tax credits for low-income Obamacare shoppers and granted them to middle-income Americans for the first time. That led to record-breaking enrollment numbers, in part because it was these middle-income earners who had long found the marketplace options unaffordable. But the financial help runs out at the end of this year.

Democrats would need to extend the assistance through a reconciliation bill, which allows the party to bypass GOP opposition to the beefed-up tax credits. But a broader economic package has languished in the Senate for months. Lawmakers are aware of the stakes and continue to push for the measure to be included in any such bill, per a Senate Democratic aide. 

If Congress doesn’t act in the next few months … “Everyone is going to hear the news about how their premiums are going up, some by thousands of dollars a year,” said Leslie Dach, who founded Protect Our Care, a Democratic-aligned health-care advocacy…

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