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Home / The Angry Bear / Another installment in the “sigh and blame Manchin” approach to politics:  expiring ACA subsidies

Another installment in the “sigh and blame Manchin” approach to politics:  expiring ACA subsidies

Summary:
One of the biggest design flaws in the ACA is that subsidies for low-income families buying policies on insurance exchanges were too low.  Congress raised the subsidies temporarily, but now they are set to expire right before the November election.  From Huffpo: Health insurance premiums for millions of Americans will spike if Congress doesn’t act in the next few months, with particularly big increases in politically contested states, according to a report that the liberal advocacy group Families USA released on Monday morning.The subject of the report is the fate of some extra, but temporary, financial assistance available to people who buy insurance on their own through HealthCare.gov or state-run online marketplaces like the Maryland Health

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One of the biggest design flaws in the ACA is that subsidies for low-income families buying policies on insurance exchanges were too low.  Congress raised the subsidies temporarily, but now they are set to expire right before the November election.  From Huffpo:

Health insurance premiums for millions of Americans will spike if Congress doesn’t act in the next few months, with particularly big increases in politically contested states, according to a report that the liberal advocacy group Families USA released on Monday morning.

The subject of the report is the fate of some extra, but temporary, financial assistance available to people who buy insurance on their own through HealthCare.gov or state-run online marketplaces like the Maryland Health ConnectionMinnesota’s MNSure and Your Health Idaho.

The assistance, which President Joe Biden and the Democrats enacted as part of last year’s COVID-19 relief program, has reduced premiums by hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars a year.

But the assistance is set to end in December. If that happens, prices will go back up and consumers will start to learn about the increases in the fall.

. . .

Biden, Democratic leaders and Manchin have all said they would still like to enact some of Build Back Better’s provisions, as part of a much smaller bill. But there’s been no visible progress toward a compromise.

Why is this all on Democrats? 

Sure, Democrats should try to pass a bill raising taxes on the wealthy and using at least part of the revenue to achieve their important policy goals on social welfare and climate.  But why is this the only arrow in their political quiver?  Why doesn’t Biden send McConnell a letter pointing out that these subsidies are set to expire and that nothing can get done in the Senate without the cooperation of Republicans, and expressing confidence that Republicans do not just represent corporate interests and that McConnell will either support Democratic efforts to extend the subsidies or propose legislation of his own?

Asking for Republican cooperation on popular policies they oppose is likely to fail, but so is the “sigh and blame Manchin” approach to legislation.  The advantage of asking for cooperation is that it helps the public understand why nothing is getting done.  I just don’t get the blame Manchin approach to politics.

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