Donald Trump scraps billions in Obamacare subsidies

Pauline Gross
October 15, 2017

Trump's order announced late Thursday about the subsidies "are certain to result in higher premium payments for consumers and will force our insurers to determine whether they will remain in an unstable market", said state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. "We are still determining the implications, but again, there will be no changes in our customer rates or premiums".

Pamelya Herndon says it will be especially devastating for New Mexicans. The president has no evidence that they are in violation; he's refusing to certify just because he feels like it. It's so irresponsible.

The uncertainty over the fate of the subsidies led for requests for double-digit premium increases proposed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies in both North Carolina and South Carolina.

With finances already being the main source of stress in the United States, this additional burden will only exacerbate those stress levels.

The payments cost $7 billion this year and were estimated to be $10 billion in 2018, according to congressional analysts. Iran expert Barbara Slavin called the decision "reckless beyond the extreme", adding that "to designate the armed forces of another country as terrorists is to invite retaliation".

However, state regulators also asked them to file alternate requests in case the payments stopped or other major changes were made to the law. The gender pay gap translates to hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages lost over a lifetime, leaving women even worse off.

"As the nation's largest professional organization for women's health care physicians, ACOG is extremely disappointed that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has chosen to undermine the best interest of patients we care for", Dr. Haywood Brown, the President of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said in a statement shared with Bustle.

In a separate statement, the White House said the government cannot legally continue to pay the so-called cost-sharing subsidies because they lack a formal authorization by Congress.

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Trump notified Congress that he is "decertifying" the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, arguing that while Iran may be complying with the letter of the agreement, the accord itself is not sufficient to be in U.S. interests. But he has repeatedly threatened to cut them off and disparaged them as a "bailout" for insurance companies. These people are required by law to have health insurance, but in actuality they will have no market options.

In a pre-dawn post on his Twitter account Friday, the president reiterated his oft-stated argument that "Obamacare is imploding".

Republicans call Obamacare, which extended health insurance to 20 million people, a government intrusion into Americans' healthcare, and have been promising for seven years to scrap it. Trump's order aims to give people more access to cheaper plans, which do not cover essential health benefits such as maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, and mental health and addiction treatment. It has no business pursuing these policies, but when changing something this important, it should have gathered public input on the effects of these rules through notice-and-comment rulemaking first.

"What I think should happen - and will happen - is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating", Trump told the paper.

Rep. Leonard Lance, a Republican from Hunterdon County, said he agreed with Trump's reasoning for ending the subsidies - the money was not appropriated by Congress and therefore unconstitutional. Those increases will likely cause some consumers to drop insurance, Marquis said.

Insurers didn't immediately respond to LNP's questions Friday morning, other than to say they're still evaluating the situation.

"It takes leadership to negotiate a deal to permanently stabilize the marketplace", Pascrell said. But Lance said more needs to be done.

What are insurers and regulators saying? New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a press release yesterday threatening legal action if President Trump withdraws the payments, and the California Attorney General has also threatened suit.

Other reports by GizPress

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