How excited should you get about the Trump administration promising it will keep making the ACA payments to insurers? Not very. The administration is only saying it will keep paying for the cost-sharing reduction subsidies "for now," as one White House official told me. It hasn't decided whether the payments will continue in the long term. And that's the part insurers want to know.
Still, the assurances were enough to convince Democratic leaders to end the talk of a government shutdown if they didn't get the payments. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had a terrible conversation with Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney in which Mulvaney wouldn't promise to make the payments next month. Then Pelosi got on the phone with White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, and that part was settled, at least.
What to watch: The House Republican lawsuit against the payments still has to be resolved before there can be a long-term solution. Lawyers for Congress and the Justice Department are supposed to give their next update to a federal appeals court on May 22. They asked for more time to work things out so the court doesn't have to decide the case, but that doesn't seem to be happening. (Unless there's a permanent appropriation later, but it's not happening now.)
On the bright side: Congress is going to pass a one-week spending bill to keep the government open through May 5 while they work out a final funding deal.
What we learned: Always put congressional Democrats on the phone with Priebus. Never put them on the phone with Mulvaney.