Trump to halt payments to health insurers
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump plans to halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law he has been trying to unravel for months.
Two people familiar with the decision described the plan late Thursday night, seeking anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The White House said in a statement that the government cannot legally continue to pay the so-called cost-sharing subsidies because they lack a formal authorization by Congress. However, the administration had been making the payments from month to month, even as Trump threated to cut them off to force Democrats to negotiate over health care.
The top two Democrats in Congress sharply denounced the Trump plan in a joint statement.
The president’s action is likely to trigger a lawsuit from state attorneys general, who contend the subsidies to insurers are fully authorized by federal law, and say the president’s position is reckless.
Word of Trump’s plan came on a day when the president had also signed an executive order directing government agencies to design insurance plans that would offer lower premiums outside the requirements of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Earlier Thursday, Trump had directed government agencies to design a legal framework for groups of employers to band together and offer health insurance plans across state lines, a longstanding goal for the president.
Democrats denounced Trump’s order as more “sabotage,” while Republicans called it “bold action” to help consumers. A major small-business group praised the president, while doctors, insurers and state regulators said they have concerns and are waiting on details.
But Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY., called Trump’s action “one of the most significant free market health care reforms in a generation” that would “reduce government interference and provide more affordable health care options to everyday Americans.”
The Associated Press President Donald Trump shows an executive order on health care that he signed Thursday in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.