In a separate statement, the
However, the administration had been making the payments from month to month, even as Trump threated to cut them off to force
Halting the payments would trigger a spike in premiums for next year, unless Trump reverses course or
The top two
“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
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.
“We are prepared to sue,” said
Word of Trump’s plan came on a day when the president had also signed an executive order directing government agencies to design insurance plans that would offer lower premiums outside the requirements of President
Frustrated over setbacks in
On Twitter, Trump has termed the payments to insurers a “bailout,” but it’s unclear if the president will get
Experts have warned that cutting off the money would lead to a double-digit spike in premiums, on top of increases insurers already planned for next year. That would deliver another blow to markets around the country already fragile from insurers exiting and costs rising. Insurers, hospitals, doctors’ groups, state officials and the
The so-called “cost-sharing” subsidies defray copays and deductibles for people with low-to-modest incomes, and can reduce a deductible of
Nearly 3 in 5 HealthCare.gov customers qualify for help, an estimated 6 million people or more. The annual cost to the government is currently about
But the subsidies have been under a legal cloud because of a dispute over whether the Obama health care law properly approved them. Adding to the confusion, other parts of the Affordable Care Act clearly direct the government to reimburse the carriers.
For example, the ACA requires insurers to help low-income consumers with their copays and deductibles.
And the law also specifies that the government shall reimburse insurers for the cost-sharing assistance that they provide.
But there’s disagreement over whether the law properly provided a congressional “appropriation,” similar to an instruction to pay. The
A district court judge agreed with
While the legal issue seems arcane, the impact on consumers would be real.
Consumers who receive tax credits under the ACA to pay their premiums would be shielded from those premium increases.
But millions of others buy individual health care policies without any financial assistance from the government and could face prohibitive increases. Taxpayers would end up spending more to subsidize premiums.
Earlier Thursday, Trump had directed government agencies to design a legal framework for groups of employers to band together and offer health insurance plans across state lines, a longstanding goal for the president.
Associated Press Writer