The Trump administration and health insurers don't agree on a lot, but they definitely agree on one thing: It's up to Congress to solve the ACA insurer payments problem. That's the bottom line now that the administration and the House have asked for another 90-day extension in the lawsuit over the cost-sharing reduction subsidies.
From the Trump administration: "Congress could resolve any uncertainty about the payments by passing the AHCA and reforming Obamacare's failed funding structure," HHS spokeswoman Alleigh Marré said.
From insurers: "It's time to calm the waters of the Marketplace. Congress can do this by appropriating funding for CSRs," or cost-sharing reduction subsidies, Association for Community Affiliated Plans CEO Margaret Murray said.
Just one problem: Doing that in the ACA repeal and replacement bill probably isn't going to work, even if Congress wanted to do it there, Caitlin Owens reports. That's because it's a budget "reconciliation" bill, so anything in it has to have some budgetary impact — except it assumes that the subsidies are already being paid. So if Congress wants to do it, it'll have to find another way. Read Caitlin's story here.
Between the lines: Aside from whether Trump wants to pay for the subsidies, there probably won't be a permanent solution unless Congress provides the money — because it's hard for the administration to justify continuing the payments if there's still a legal question about whether they were authorized.