Experts: Trump administration's suspension likely won't delay risk adjustment payments

The Trump administration’s latest move over the weekend to suspend risk adjustment payments isn't likely to delay payouts to insurers, healthcare experts said Monday. (American Enterprise Institute)

The Trump administration’s latest move over the weekend to suspend risk adjustment payments to insurance companies garnered plenty of raised eyebrows but isn't likely to delay payouts to insurers, healthcare experts said Monday.

“The announcement on Saturday that the administration is going to hold off on risk adjustment payments is, I think, unnecessary and will likely increase premiums and reduce insurer participation," said Timothy Jost, a Washington and Lee University professor emeritus who closely follows the ACA.

He was speaking at an event hosted in Washington, D.C., by conservative-leaning think tank American Enterprise Institute on Monday.

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Jost called the New Mexico decision "completely crazy." 

"I’m troubled by the Trump administration saying we’re not going to pay anybody anything until we get this litigation sorted out,” Jost said.  Even so, Jost said, he believes it could come to a resolution before insurers are impacted.

"I think there’s a 100% chance the payout will come when it otherwise would have come in the fall unless the Trump administration decides this is a good way to throw a wrench into the whole thing," he said. "There’s no reason why they can’t get this resolved or put out an interim final rule if they have the will to do it."

RELATED: New Mexico CO-OP earns favorable ruling in risk-adjustment lawsuit against HHS

Other insurance experts questioned the New Mexico ruling and its potential impact on the Affordable Care Act. Seth Chandler, who is a professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center—who acknowledged he’s “not known to be great ACA fan”—said he found the judge's ruling in the case "mysterious."