Beshear files complaint against President Trump's ACA cost-sharing decision

10/13/2017 02:41 PM

Attorney General Andy Beshear, along with several other state attorney’s general, is suing President Trump over the White House’s decision to end cost sharing reduction payments made to insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act.

Late Thursday night the Trump administration announced they would immediately stop supporting the cost-sharing subsidies the reimburse insurers for reducing co-pays for low-income Affordable Care Act enrollees. The Trump administration had been paying the subsidies month-to-month.

Beshear and other Democratic attorney generals are now seeking to intervene.

“I’m joining this action to force the federal government to follow the law and honor its promises,” he said. “To me, and to the people of Kentucky, this action isn’t about the president it’s about making the federal government keep its promises and protecting the health and prosperity of our Kentucky families.”

“Roughly 88,000 Kentuckians purchased health insurance through the federal exchange, many in Eastern Kentucky, specifically Elliott, Magoffin, Leslie, Clay and Rockcastle counties,” Beshear said. “If left unchallenged, these actions by the federal government will cause the health care rates to rise on these Kentucky families by nearly 20 percent.”

The federal government was paying insurers around $7 billion so they could offer low cost health insurance plans to low-income individuals and help with out-of-pocket expenses. Thursday the White House claimed the payments were unlawful, and stopped paying for them.

Beshear and others seeking to file the complaint were asked if the suit was partisan, as right now mainly Democrats are fighting the change.

“If you look at the 88,000 Kentuckians who purchased health insurance from the federal exchange that are going to be directly impacted by this, I’d estimate 70 percent of them voted for the president,” Beshear said. “In the end this action is going to harm them.”

“For these people 20 percent increase could be the difference between having health insurance or not, and in many parts of my state that’s the difference between life or death.”

The Kentucky Department of Insurance responded to the potential increase of cost-sharing.

“The Kentucky Department of Insurance took proactive measures during the rate review process to work with insurance companies given the uncertainty surrounding cost sharing reduction payments,” according to a statement from Elizabeth Goss Kuhn, the Executive Director Office of Communications and Public Outreach. “The individual health insurance rates were filed, reviewed, and approved on the basis that cost sharing reduction payments would end. Therefore, the Department does not anticipate any necessary action to change rates or the availability of plans.”

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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