Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Hill -- Trump threatens to end ObamaCare payments unless repeal passes

President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare was not dead -- "unless the Republican Senators are total quitters."

In his ongoing effort to make sure the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is repealed or fails, on Saturday, President Trump also threatened to end key payments to insurance companies made under Obamacare if a repeal and replace bill is not passed. He said, "If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!"

But, for now, those subsidies will be paid. The White House did not make a commitment beyond July.

The Trump administration effort to force ACA failure has already included cancellation of $5 million in ads promoting enrollment on the health care exchanges for next year. That happened in January.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said “If the president refuses to make the cost sharing reduction payments, every expert agrees that 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.” 

The “key payments,” Trump is talking about, are cost sharing reductions. They are discounts that lower deductibles, co payments, and coinsurance for lower income customers. In the Health Insurance Marketplace, cost-sharing reductions are often called “extra savings,according to

If he follows through on his threat to end the employer contribution for members of Congress -- what Trump called "BAILOUTS for Members of Congress "-- that would be a big deal.

Obamacare is not failing. A federal health care law needs to be in place. However, the best outcome for this health care mess would be for the Republicans to deal with Democrats and come up with a bipartisan plan that will not repeal Obamacare but make the existing law better.

By Julia Manchester