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Rounds Says President Trump Should Keep CSR Payments For Now

Kealey Bultena

As healthcare reform talks are stymied in Congress, there’s still a lot of uncertainty about future funding from a controversial portion of the Affordable Care Act.

President Donald Trump says he may pull Cost Sharing Reduction payments. But one of South Dakota’s Senators says that might not be a good idea right now.

Cost Sharing Reduction payments, or CSR’s, are federal monies that help low income Americans afford healthcare on the exchange marketplace.

Sixty percent of South Dakotans enrolled in the healthcare exchange receive CSR assistance.

US Senator Mike Rounds says premiums would skyrocket from projections that already project and increase in premiums. He says that runs counter to Republican efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act…

“I think the president still needs to, in the short term, give us the opportunity to still succeed at a healthcare reform package. That means allowing the cost sharing arrangements to continue for a period of time," Rounds says. "From the legislative standpoint, I don’t believe we will pass legislation that will appropriate money and continue the payments of those for an extended period of time, unless we get some reforms to show that we’re making progress in fixing the mess that we’ve got out there right now.”

Recently, a federal court ruled these CSR payments were unconstitutional, which stated that no appropriations exist for the money.

Debra Muller is the CEO of Avera Health Plan, one of two insurance providers in the state. She says there’s uncertainty about future CSR dollars.

“Cost share reductions, we’ve still not gotten a clear indication from the administration whether or not they’re going to choose to fund cost share reductions. Not just for 2018 and beyond, but for 2017 and the remainder of this year," Muller says.

Muller says insurers rely on those federal dollars month by month.

Meanwhile, Senator Rounds says republicans are tackling tax reform and meeting with Democrats to look at bipartisan fixes to Obamacare.