Trump threat­ens in­sur­ance pay­ments

Urges US Congress not to aban­don quest to re­place Oba­macare

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump threat­ened on Sat­ur­day to end gov­ern­ment pay­ments to health in­sur­ers if Congress does not pass a new health­care bill and goaded them not to aban­don their sev­enyear quest to re­place the Oba­macare law.

In a Twit­ter mes­sage on Sat­ur­day, Trump said “if a new Health­Care Bill is not ap­proved quickly, BAILOUTS for In­sur­ance Com­pa­nies and BAILOUTS for Mem­bers of Congress will end very soon!”

The tweet came a day af­ter Se­nate Repub­li­cans failed to muster enough votes to re­peal parts of the Af­ford­able Care Act, pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s signa- ture health­care bill com­monly known as Oba­macare.

The first part of Trump’s tweet ap­peared to be re­fer­ring to the ap­prox­i­mately $8 bil­lion in cost-shar­ing re­duc­tion sub­si­dies the fed­eral gov­ern­ment pays to in­sur­ers to lower the price of health cover­age for low-in­come Amer­i­cans.

The sec­ond part ap­peared to be a threat to end the em­ployer con­tri­bu­tion for Congress mem­bers and their staffs, who were moved from the nor­mal fed­eral em­ployee health­care ben­e­fits pro­gram onto the Oba­macare in­sur­ance ex­changes as part of the 2010 health­care law.

Trump has pre­vi­ously threat­ened to sus­pend the pay­ments to in­sur­ers, which are de­ter­mined by the Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices. In April, he threat­ened to end the pay­ments if Democrats re­fused to ne­go­ti­ate over the health­care bill.

Re­spond­ing to Sat­ur­day’s tweet, Se­nate Demo­cratic leader Chuck Schumer said that if the pres­i­dent car­ried out that threat, “every ex­pert agrees that (in­sur­ance) pre­mi­ums will go up and health care will be more ex­pen­sive for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans.”

“The pres­i­dent ought to stop play­ing pol­i­tics with peo­ple’s lives and health care, start lead­ing and fi­nally be­gin act­ing pres­i­den­tial,” Schumer said in a state­ment.

Trump later urged Se­nate Repub­li­cans to try again on a health­care vote. The Se­nate is in ses­sion for an­other week be­fore it is sched­uled to be­gin an Au­gust re­cess.

“Un­less the Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors are to­tal quit­ters, Re­peal & Re­place is not dead! De­mand an­other vote be­fore vot­ing on any other bill!” Trump said in a sub­se­quent tweet. Reuters

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