Connect with us


Trump Ends Key ObamaCare Subsidies for Low-Income Americans

Donald Trump

In his continuing effort to destroy former President Barack Obama’s legacy, Donald Trump’s White House announced Thursday that it would stop reimbursing health insurance companies for costs associated with lowering costs for low income Americans under the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

The Cost-share Reduction payments or CSRs are crucial subsidies designed to help low-income Americans afford health insurance and experts believe that without the CSRs most insurers would simply raise premiums forcing low-income Americans to simply walk away from ObamaCare because of high costs.

Democrat leaders said this decision has the potential to effectively end Affordable Care and condemned it as “spiteful.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer condemned the move in a joint statement. “Sadly, instead of working to lower health costs for Americans, it seems President Trump will single-handedly hike Americans’ health premiums,” they said.

RELATED: Congressional Republicans Abandon Effort to Repeal ObamaCare, Again.

The Democrat leaders called the move 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.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has warned that in the short term, health care premiums would spike and many insurers would leave the market. It will also lead to increase in deficits

President Donald Trump had indicated that his motive for cutting off the payments is to increase pressure on Republican and Democratic lawmakers to repeal Obamacare. In a tweet, Trump said that “Obamacare is a broken mess. Piece by piece we will now begin the process of giving America the great HealthCare it deserves!”

The White House also released a statement claiming the decision came as a result of guidance from the U.S. Justice Department.

“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,” the White House statement said.

“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.

The open enrollment in Affordable Care Act plans for 2018 begins on Nov. 1. Insurers have already submitted their premiums for 2018 and in many cases raised rates on the assumption of cutting off the CSRs. That could somewhat blunt the impact of the White House’s move.

Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate have talked about the possibility of appropriating the CSRs payments themselves. Doing so would blunt the impact of Trump’s order but it is impossible to know if congressional republican leaders would support a bill, which is likely to draw strong opposition from conservatives.

The move comes the same day Trump signed an executive order that seeks to further undermine President Barack Obama’s signature health care legacy.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the move by the White House “preserves a monumental affirmation of Congress’s authority and the separation of powers.” Ryan released a statement late Thursday saying, “Obamacare has proven 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.”

However, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that “Trumpcare collapsed because Americans overwhelmingly recognized the cruelty and higher costs it meant for them and their loved ones,” adding that “Now, millions of hard-working American families will suffer just because President Trump wants them to.”

The CBO reported in August that the decision to end the CSRs would cause the number of uninsured Americans to rise by about 1 million in 2018 but would start lowering the number of uninsured by about 1 million a year starting in 2020. Also, the federal budget deficit would rise by $6 billion next year, $21 billion in 2020 and $26 billion in 2026 as low- and moderate-income Americans make more use of tax credits to offset rising premiums.

SEE ALSO: House Ethics Committee Probes GOP Rep. Chris Collins for Insider Trading.

The CBO said it expected that insurers in some states would withdraw from some markets because of “substantial uncertainty.” However, it projected that by 2020, “more insurers would participate, so people in almost all areas would be able to buy no group insurance.”

Moreover, it said most people would pay net premiums for no group insurance similar to or less than what they would have paid otherwise over the next decade, after considering premium tax credits.

The White House said Thursday that “the bailout of insurance companies through these unlawful payments is yet another example of how the previous administration abused taxpayer dollars and skirted the law to prop up a broken system.”



Contributor, The Liberal Advocate News




More in Healthcare