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People solidly in the middle class are the ones hurt by Trump's decision on Obamacare

Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

She expects him and most people to move to health plans in the so-called bronze tier, which will have much lower increases in their up-front premiums but less coverage with higher deductibles.

"It didn't have to happen," Bultman said.

Here's what happened:

The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to provide additional coverage to offset deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses for people with low incomes -- less than $30,150 for an individual this year.

The law did not clearly appropriate money for the subsidies, and congressional Republicans sued the Obama administration, contending that Congress must fund the subsidies each year. They prevailed, but the court order was stayed pending appeal.

Congress hasn't funded the subsidies, and the Trump administration announced this month that it would stop paying them.

The only way that insurance companies -- which, again, must provide the additional coverage by law -- can offset the cost of the subsidies is by raising rates.

The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and its counterparts in most states put in a place a partial solution.

Here's how it works:

State regulators allowed health insurers to allocate the costs of providing the additional coverage to people with low incomes to health plans sold in the "silver" tier.

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