Trump: Halt payment for health insurers
WASHINGTON — In a brash move likely to roil insurance markets, President Donald Trump plans to halt payments to insurers under the Obama health care law he’s been trying to unravel for months.
Two people familiar with the decision described the plan late Thursday, 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 socalled 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 threatened to cut them off to force Democrats to negotiate over health care.
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. Among the likely consequences: a spike in premiums for next year.
The top two Democrats in Congress sharply denounced the Trump plan in a joint statement.
“It is a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America,” said House and Senate Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi of California and Chuck Schumer of New York.