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

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney
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."