Trump to end subsidy payments to Obamacare insurers

  • Trump announced late Thursday the government will stop subsidy payments to insurers who sell Obamacare 
  • The White House said these payments are 'unlawful' despite being a key part of the Affordable Care Act  
  • Halting these payments could be a critical blow to the hallmark Obama law
  • Pelosi and Schumer quickly slammed the decision as 'spiteful' and 'pointeless'

By Abigail Miller For Dailymail.com and Reuters

Published: 23:15 EDT, 12 October 2017 | Updated: 00:50 EDT, 13 October 2017

The White House announced late Thursday night that it will stop subsidy payments to insurers who sell coverage under Obamacare - prompting howls of protest from Democrat lawmakers. 

The Trump administration said that based on guidance from the Justice Department, 'the Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that there is no appropriation for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies under Obamacare.'

In a statement Thursday night House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the decision as a 'spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage.' 

The administration has said that these subsidy payments are 'unlawful' - and halting them will deal a critical blow to one of Obama's hallmark pieces of legislation.   

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The White House announced late Thursday night that it will stop subsidy payments to insurers who sell coverage under Obamacare - prompting howls of protest from Democrat lawmakers
The White House announced late Thursday night that it will stop subsidy payments to insurers who sell coverage under Obamacare - prompting howls of protest from Democrat lawmakers

The White House announced late Thursday night that it will stop subsidy payments to insurers who sell coverage under Obamacare - prompting howls of protest from Democrat lawmakers

In a statement Thursday night House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the decision as a 'spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage'
In a statement Thursday night House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the decision as a 'spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage'

In a statement Thursday night House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the decision as a 'spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage'

'In light of this analysis, the Government cannot lawfully make the cost-sharing reduction payments,' the statement said.

'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.'  

Ending the payments, which cost about $7billion total this year, was one of Trump's campaign promises before he was elected in 2016. 

These payments may stop almost immediately, though that timeline is not clear.  

Trump finally decided to take the action to end the payments after the GOP failed multiple times to repeal and replace Obamacare on Capitol Hill. 

Schumer issued a series of tweets condemning the decision late Thursday night just as it was announced.

'Sadly, instead of working to lower health costs for Americans, it seems @POTUS will singlehandedly hike America's health premiums,' he wrote.

'It is 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, @POTUS will try to blame the Affordable Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it.'  

Earlier on Thursday Trump signed an executive order in a move he claims is 'saving the American people from the nightmare of Obamacare.'  

Schumer issued a series of tweets condemning the decision late Thursday night just as it was announced
Schumer issued a series of tweets condemning the decision late Thursday night just as it was announced

Schumer issued a series of tweets condemning the decision late Thursday night just as it was announced

In August the Congressional Budget Office said that this move of stopping the cost-sharing reduction payments will drive up federal marketplace subsidy costs, raise premiums, cause more insurers to withdraw from the marketplaces, and increase the number of people uninsured, according to the New York Post. He is pictured signing the Executive Order that promotes healthcare choice and competition on Thursday afternoon
In August the Congressional Budget Office said that this move of stopping the cost-sharing reduction payments will drive up federal marketplace subsidy costs, raise premiums, cause more insurers to withdraw from the marketplaces, and increase the number of people uninsured, according to the New York Post. He is pictured signing the Executive Order that promotes healthcare choice and competition on Thursday afternoon

In August the Congressional Budget Office said that this move of stopping the cost-sharing reduction payments will drive up federal marketplace subsidy costs, raise premiums, cause more insurers to withdraw from the marketplaces, and increase the number of people uninsured, according to the New York Post. He is pictured signing the Executive Order that promotes healthcare choice and competition on Thursday afternoon

Regardless of that warning the President wrote on Twitter that the move will 'IMPROVE access, INCREASE choices, and LOWER COSTS for HEALTHCARE!'
Regardless of that warning the President wrote on Twitter that the move will 'IMPROVE access, INCREASE choices, and LOWER COSTS for HEALTHCARE!'

Regardless of that warning the President wrote on Twitter that the move will 'IMPROVE access, INCREASE choices, and LOWER COSTS for HEALTHCARE!'

In August the Congressional Budget Office said that this move of stopping the cost-sharing reduction payments will drive up federal marketplace subsidy costs, raise premiums, cause more insurers to withdraw from the marketplaces, and increase the number of people uninsured, according to the New York Post. 

Regardless of that warning the President wrote on Twitter that the move will 'IMPROVE access, INCREASE choices, and LOWER COSTS for HEALTHCARE!' 

He has threatened for months to cut off the payments, belittling them as a 'bailout' for insurers. And though many GOP lawmakers are not fans of Obamacare, most were also wary of them ending suddenly. 

'Cutting health care subsidies will mean more uninsured in my district,' Republican representative for Florida Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tweeted when the decision was announced Thursday. 

'@POTUS promised more access, affordable coverage. This does opposite.' 

Some insurers are likely to sue the administration over the failure to make payments, believing they are entitled to them under the Affordable Care Act, which, much to Trump's chagrin, is still law of the land. 

Trump says that Democrats will take the blame if the markets implode, but according to recent polling done by Politico, the public will find that the blame lies with the Republicans for the ACA's issues under Trump's watch.  

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