Obamacare’s Insurance Subsidies
Supporters of President Obama’s healthcare law breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday, but they’re already back at work trying to protect one of its key provisions from budget cuts.
As the election fades into the rearview mirror and attention turns more seriously toward the looming “fiscal cliff,” lobbyists and advocates are once again wondering whether Congress might look to the healthcare law for spending cuts.
Specifically, lawmakers might be tempted to tap the health law’s insurance subsidies, by far its most expensive provision, and probably the most tangible benefit it will provide.
Cutting into the subsidies has been discussed before, but it’s gaining new urgency as the fiscal cliff, a combination of spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect at the end of the year, draws closer.
The Affordable Care Act sets up new marketplaces where people who don’t get insurance through an employer can buy coverage. And it provides subsidies to families with incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
Critics say the subsidies are too generous; 400 percent of the poverty level is more than $90,000 per year. And because the subsidies don’t begin to flow until 2014, they represent a giant pot of money that’s in the budget but wouldn’t have to come out of anyone’s pocket.
But healthcare advocates say it’s a terrible idea that could make the health law substantially less effective once it takes effect.
The law’s supporters say there’s already a fear that the subsidies won’t be enough to make healthcare coverage affordable, and any cut in subsidies will only make the problem worse.
Republicans would love to chip away at anything related to “ObamaCare,” but lobbyists question whether Democrats might be willing to consider subsidy cuts because the money would come entirely from future spending.
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Editor's Note: Let's reiterate this so even the daft can understand this, "400 percent of the poverty level is more than $90,000 per year."...Again but in a different way, families that make $90,000 would qualify for the taxpayers to pay for their health insurance...If you voted for Mr. Obama, you voted for this. Do you feel stupid yet?..
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