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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Trump threatens to Undermine ACA
To get Democrats to Negotiate

Since the failure of the GOP health care bill in the House nearly three weeks ago, President Donald Trump has suggested letting Obamacare explode to bring Democrats to the negotiating table. Now, he’s threatening to push the detonator, reports ABC News. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Wednesday, Trump suggested the federal government would hold back key subsidy payments made to health insurers offering insurance to low-income Americans.
“Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn’t get that money,” Trump said. “I haven’t made my viewpoint clear yet. I don’t want people to get hurt.” The payments are at the center of an ongoing legal battle between the previous administration and House Republicans, who argue the payments were made improperly without congressional approval. The Obama administration filed an appeal to a federal judge’s ruling in favor of House Republicans, which Republicans extended after the inauguration. To stop the payments, which the government is still making, the Trump administration would simply have to drop the appeal.
“It wasn’t authorized by Congress," Trump told the Journal. “I’m going to have to make a decision.” Trump’s comments come two days after the Department of Health and Human Services told The New York Times the cost-sharing subsidy payments will continue. A White House spokesman said Wednesday night that no decision has been made regarding the payments. Health care experts say stopping the payments would severely undermine Obamacare and the insurance markets, and prompt some insurers to flee the system.

“Insurance companies would lose billions of dollars of cost-sharing subsidies,” Robert Laszekwski, a health policy consultant, said in a recent interview. “He could blow up the system right now.” Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, have called for the payments to continue, at least until Republicans can pass their GOP health care proposal.

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