Trump: Halt pay­ment for health in­sur­ers

The Times-Tribune - - Nation & World - BY KEN THOMAS AND CATHER­INE LUCEY

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.

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