Mar 29, 2017

House chairman doesn't want to add ACA insurer payments to funding bill

Sue Ogrocki / AP

Rep. Tom Cole, who heads the subcommittee that funds health care programs, says he doesn't want to add money for Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies to the bill to fund the government for the rest of the year — because it's all worked out and he doesn't want to reopen it. "I can't reopen the negotiation," Cole told reporters, because there's already an agreement between Republicans and Democrats and both sides "bargained in good faith."

Why it matters: It means health insurers may have to wait for another bill to get their payments for the subsidies to low-income Obamacare customers — even though Cole has said he wants to find a way to give them the money. Insurers have been saying they need those payments to keep offering Obamacare coverage for next year.

And no NIH cuts, either: Cole used the same argument to push back against the Trump administration's new request to cut the National Institutes of Health by $1.2 billion through the end of the current fiscal year. The administration request "came very late in the process," Cole said. "With all due respect ... I can't reopen a $163 billion negotiation."

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