Why Health Insurance Subsidies Aren't a Bailout

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The ongoing Republican effort to undo the Affordable Care Act took another turn this month after President Donald Trump signed two executive orders aimed at undermining the insurance exchanges. One of them in particular stopped reimbursements that the federal government has been paying to insurers in exchange for the discounts they are required to offer low-income consumers.

While Trump has characterized these payments as a bailout, Consumer Reports Senior Editor Donna Rosato told WNYC's Jami Floyd that's not exactly true. She said many insurance companies offering plans on the health exchanges are either profitable or solidly on their way. They are not struggling companies who need to be bailed out. But without these subsidies, she said, people who get their insurance through the Affordable Care Act are already seeing their premiums skyrocket.

"Right now we have a population of people using the healthcare exchanges who really need health care," Rosato said. "So we are seeing people having to pay higher premiums to get the kind of coverage that they want. The question is will people be able to afford the premiums that we are seeing."

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