Trump takes scalpel to Oba­macare

China Daily - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON — The White House an­nounced on Thurs­day it will end sub­si­dies to health in­sur­ance com­pa­nies that help lower out-of-pocket costs for low-in­come cus­tomers, another move in­tended to un­ravel the Af­ford­able Care Act, aka Oba­macare.

“Based on guid­ance from the De­part­ment of Jus­tice, the De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices has con­cluded that there is no ap­pro­pri­a­tion for cost-shar­ing re­duc­tion pay­ments to in­sur­ance com­pa­nies un­der Oba­macare,” the White House said in a state­ment.

“In light of this anal­y­sis, the gov­ern­ment can­not law­fully make the cost-shar­ing re­duc­tion pay­ments,” it said.

The plan came hours af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump signed a health­care ex­ec­u­tive or­der that could lead to sweep­ing changes in the coun­try’s health­care sys­tem, with pro­pos­als for cheaper, bare-bone health in­sur­ance plans by cir­ments State­ment is­sued by top Demo­cratic Party lead­ers Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi cumvent­ing Oba­macare rules.

“The United States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives sued the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion in fed­eral court for mak­ing these pay­ments with­out such an ap­pro­pri­a­tion, and the court agreed that the pay­ments were not law­ful,” the state­ment said.

The White House blasted the bailout of in­sur­ance com­pa­nies through these pay- as “another ex­am­ple of how the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion abused tax­payer dol­lars and skirted the law to prop up a bro­ken sys­tem”.

It also urged Congress to “re­peal and re­place the dis­as­trous Oba­macare law and pro­vide real re­lief to the Amer­i­can peo­ple”.

An­a­lysts said the ab­sence of the sub­si­dies could quickly send in­sur­ance mar­kets into tur­moil as the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s mea­sures to push for health­care re­form are ex­pected to drive up in­sur­ance premi­ums and cause a mas­sive flee­ing from the mar­ket­place by in­sur­ance com­pa­nies.

Top Demo­cratic lead­ers, Se­na­tor Chuck Schumer of New York and Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Nancy Pelosi of Cal­i­for­nia, said in a joint state­ment that Trump had “ap­par­ently de­cided to pun­ish the Amer­i­can peo­ple for his in­abil­ity to im­prove our health­care sys­tem”.

“It is a spite­ful act of vast, point­less sab­o­tage lev­eled at work­ing fam­i­lies and the mid­dle class in ev­ery cor­ner of Amer­ica. Make no mis­take about it, Trump will try to blame the Af­ford­able Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it,” they said.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan said the White House pro­posal “pre­serves a mon­u­men­tal af­fir­ma­tion of Congress’ au­thor­ity and the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers”.

“Oba­macare has proved it­self to be a fa­tally flawed law, and the House will con­tinue to work with Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to pro­vide the Amer­i­can peo­ple a bet­ter sys­tem,” the Repub­li­can con­gress­man said.

Ear­lier that day, Trump signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der to gut Oba­macare af­ter the GOP­con­trolled Congress’ re­peated fail­ure to get it re­pealed or re­placed, a de­ci­sion strongly op­posed by Democrats.

It is a spite­ful act of vast, point­less sab­o­tage lev­eled at work­ing fam­i­lies and the mid­dle class.”

JEFF CHIU / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A he­li­copter drops wa­ter on the wild­fire-rav­aged Oak­mont area of Santa Rosa, Cal­i­for­nia, on Thurs­day. A fore­cast for gusty winds and dry air threat­ened to fan the fires, which were fast be­com­ing the dead­li­est and most de­struc­tive in Cal­i­for­nia his­tory. At least 31 peo­ple have been killed and hun­dreds more are miss­ing as a re­sult of the blazes in the heart of the wine-pro­duc­ing re­gion.

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