Mar 6, 2018

OMB: Funding insurer subsidies will lower ACA premiums 15-20%

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney. (Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Funding the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing subsidies would lower premiums by 15-20%, according to an analysis being circulated around congressional offices from the Office of Management and Budget. OMB says those subsidies would be more cost-effective than a new reinsurance program.

Why it matters: Reinsurance has been gaining steam on Capitol Hill, and Sen. Susan Collins is still owed a vote on a reinsurance bill. But the White House budget office is saying Congress could get a better deal by restoring a funding stream that President Trump cut off last year.

The numbers:

  • President Trump's decision to quit making the cost-sharing payments this year caused premiums to rise by 15-20%, the analysis says, and funding them next year would undo that increase.
  • It also says that for every $1 billion spent on a reinsurance program — which would compensate insurers for their most expensive claims — individual market premiums would decrease by only 1%.

Key quote: "We project funding CSRs would have a greater impact on reducing premiums than any of the reinsurance funding levels that have been proposed, and would have more bang for the buck in terms of Federal spending."

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.