Congressional leaders moved yesterday to work bipartisanly and protect the “cost sharing reduction” (CSR) payments that help lower-income policyholders (between 100% and 250% of the federal poverty level) pay for “silver plans” on the Affordable Care Act individual marketplace. Following the Senate’s rejection of three plans to repeal some portion of the ACA, Donald Trump has been threatening to cut off those payments as a way to kill the ACA by executive fiat.
The CSR payments are in addition to the savings ACA policyholders get from the premium tax subsidy. Axios provides this map showing that South Dakota is among states where a majority of ACA policyholders receive CSR assistance:
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, as of February 2017, 16,144 of South Dakota’s 27,314 ACA marketplace policyholders enjoyed lower health insurance premiums thanks to CSR payments. That’s 59%. If Trump reneges on CSR payments, insurers will have to recoup their losses by jacking premiums even higher, perhaps an extra 20%. That hike would hit all 27,314 South Dakota enrollees.
That’s 27,314 rural people about whom Donald Trump is forgetting. At least Congress is showing some signs of putting old slogans behind them and focusing on working together to serve all Americans amidst the gap in leadership and practical problem-solving created by the feckless Executive Branch.