Good Article I Copied and Pasted by Carl Armato of CNN

Why Washington should continue billions in health care subsidies

The Senate GOP health care bill explained
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The Senate GOP health care bill explained 02:02

Story highlights

  • Carl Armato: The government must continue to fund Cost Sharing Reduction payments to insurers
  • If CSR payments stop, millions would either lose or drop coverage, he writes

Carl Armato is president and chief executive officer of Novant Health, a not-for-profit integrated healthcare system operating in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN)It’s not every day that hospitals and insurers see eye to eye, but there is one thing we agree on — the government must continue to help lower the cost of health care that millions of lower-income Americans receive.

The Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments, which have been paid on a monthly basis to insurers for the past three years, are an integral part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Whether to continue with the payments is a central issue in the ongoing health care reform debate in Washington.
The CSR program is critical to our ability to provide comprehensive and affordable care to patients across the country but it is caught in an unresolved legal quagmire.

Carl Armato

These payments have made it possible for patients who earn up to 250% of the federal poverty level, or roughly $60,000 dollars for a family of four, to see a doctor, receive treatment, get their needed medicine and, in some cases, get the surgery needed to restore their health — at a price they can afford. This helps reduce the number of hospitalizations, readmissions and unnecessary visits to the emergency room.
Nearly 7 million people, or almost 60% of those in the ACA marketplace, receive help that reduces their deductibles, copayments and out-of-pocket costs as a result of the CSR program. This amounts to at least $7 billion per year in help.
However, a lawsuit by Republicans in the House of Representatives that began during the Obama administration challenged the constitutionality of the method by which the payments were made. This case is unresolved, and the legal limbo and political fighting are threatening to end the payments.
The House-passed version of the “repeal and replace” bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), did not address this issue, leaving it up to the executive branch to decide whether to make these payments since the legal case still sits in the courts.
However, as the Senate considers its bill, there is discussion about the possibility of making the payments, which is something the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady of Texas, called for last week. While the Senate bill currently has the payments included in its draft, it is not clear this provision will remain in the bill as opposition to the overall bill builds.
Assuming the payments are made, a question remains: For how long?

McConnell outlines new health care bill

McConnell outlines new health care bill 02:07
If the Trump administration decides to stop making the payments, health insurance companies will be stuck with the bill; they still have the responsibility of reducing the payments on behalf of their customers but absorb the cost. If this happens, most experts believe, the insurers will either drop out of the program or raise premiums sharply to account for this new cost.
Regardless, the outcome would likely be millions either losing or dropping coverage with the consequence that they would no longer seek medical care until it was an emergency — a return to the old days. If this market disruption happens, I believe individual and community health will decline because patients will be shut out of the health care system because it’s no longer affordable.
Hospitals will certainly be negatively impacted if the subsidies are eliminated. If millions of Americans lose or drop their coverage, we will see a jump in bad debt and uncompensated care — that is care for which we receive no payments. In this scenario, everyone else will face higher premiums, higher deductibles and higher out-of-pocket costs to help cover those who no longer have coverage.
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Eliminating CSR payments would have an immediate, negative impact on patients — their health and their finances will take a huge hit. These payments give patients who need the most help the stability they need to ensure they receive the high-quality care they deserve.
Our elected officials, in the name of individual and community health, must continue to fund CSR payments until a better solution is developed for the people who need care the most.

Getting Mad or Violent Won’t Change the Other Person’s Mind

The attack on the politicians at the ball park where they were practicing didn’t make them say, “Oh, you’re right and we’re wrong.” All this animosity toward people who don’t agree with us reminds me of a time when some people on the street where we used to live were standing out in their front yards yelling and cussing at each other. We had just moved in several doors down from them. Our wonderful new neighbor from across the street, who had nothing to do with it, apologized to my wife and I for the rowdy behavior down the street. We three stood there and watched them cuss at each other at the top of their lungs. It was obvious they weren’t listening to each other. Nothing was resolved as each side dug deeper into the sand.

We all need to learn that our world will not fall apart just because Joe Blow  doesn’t agree with us. If we get mad, they’ll get mad. Nothing positive is accomplished. Not everyone liked JFK, but we might try doing what he did in the oval office; listen calmly and objectively to opposing viewpoints. Afterward, you still have the power to decide whether they were completely right, partly right, completely wrong, or partly wrong.

If they know something that we don’t, and can admit that to ourselves, then we are the stronger–and more powerful.

Adam West Lived to See it Happen

Batman made Adam West a star and it made him typecast afterward. But he lived long enough to see the historical perspective: he became a television icon. Most TV actors can’t say that about themselves.

Sadly, George Reeves, of Superman fame, didn’t see the same thing when it happened to him, having died just two years after his show went out of production. He became typecast, too. And George came along when TV acting was something movie actors did only when movie roles dried up. For these reasons, he wasn’t able to appreciate his position at the time.

But West and Reeves both became two of the most famous people on earth as their shows have been seen across the world on a daily basis for over a half-century. They didn’t get the work they wanted after they stopped making new episodes, but their stardom in TV history will burn brightly for decades to come–hopefully even longer.

We Still Need to Protect Our Planet

President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord may be a hasty decision. He wants American first, which includes job growth, but we also need to make sure we’re doing our part cut greenhouse gasses to the minimum. Trump keeps saying he represents the workers because they got him elected. Part of his leadership needs to include the survival of our planet so those workers and their children will have a healthy environment–and every one else too–even if they didn’t vote for him.