Government & Politics

Trump administration solicits public suggestions on Obamacare policies

President Donald Trump’s administration is soliciting public comments on how to improve the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.
President Donald Trump’s administration is soliciting public comments on how to improve the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.

The federal government wants to hear from you on Obamacare.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services put out a news release Friday asking the public to help “identify and eliminate or change regulations that are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective; impose costs that exceed benefits; or create inconsistencies that otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies.”

CMS, which is part of President Donald Trump’s administration, is in charge of administering the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare. The agency’s request for public input comes as Republicans in Congress are considering a major overhaul of the law. Trump has said it would be politically advantageous to let the law “explode” to force Democrats who passed it to the bargaining table.

The CMS news release cites rising premiums and insurers exiting the Obamacare exchanges as problems CMS wants the public’s help in solving. Once the request is formally published, which is scheduled to happen Monday, the public will have 30 days to submit comments either online at www.regulations.gov or by mail to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: CMS-9928-NC, P.O. Box 8016, Baltimore, MD 21244-8016.

The exchanges offer subsidized private health insurance plans to low- and middle-income individuals who aren’t insured through an employer or a government program like Medicare and Medicaid.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s decision last month to exit the exchange left 25 Missouri counties just outside the Kansas City metro without any insurer for 2018. In correspondence with the Kansas Insurance Department leading up to that decision, Blue KC officials said they wanted changes to the law that would make it tougher for people to jump in and out of the individual insurance market based on whether they needed medical care. But the company also wanted assurances that the Trump administration would continue paying subsidies that defray the cost of insuring sick and low-income people.

Andy Marso: 816-234-4055, @andymarso

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