Why Trump's threat to sabotage Obamacare would backfire

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Wednesday, Trump said he was considering withholding the payments to force Democrats to work with him on healthcare.

The healthcare law calls on the federal government to pay insurers the CSRs but it does not actually appropriate money for that objective.

Rural voters could especially feel the impact if insurers leave the marketplace, and many of them are Trump voters.

It is unclear whether the back-and-forth by HHS on the subsidies issue represents internal dissent within the administration, a reminder that no paths forward have been ruled out, or, indeed, another effort to rattle Democrats' cages and see if some of them are willing to step out and play ball.

"We've been told not to worry about it, it's going to get fixed", Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) - who chairs the appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education - said, according to Politico.

Top Democratic Senator Charles Schumer responded to the president's remarks on Wednesday, saying he was "threatening to hold hostage healthcare for millions of Americans".

Republicans filed suit against the Obama administration in 2014, arguing that the subsidies were illegal because they weren't approved by Congress.

"Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn't get that money", Trump told the WSJ. "What I think should happen-and will happen- is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating".

"Refusing to make the Cost Sharing Reduction payments has no goal but to hurt millions of people, and manufacture a crisis", House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

Threatened non-payment of CSRs appears to be one prong in the administration's scheme to sabotage the ACA, or Obamacare, HuffPo senior national correspondent Jonathan Cohn wrote this week.

"It wasn't authorized by Congress", Trump added.

Trump's original strategy involved allowing the Affordable Care Act to whither through neglect and then avoid responsibility, insisting he had nothing to do with the law's creation. Insurers are unsure how to proceed in the market at this time. "When two Iowa insurers pulled out of Obamacare last week, both cited the law's uncertain future".

"Part of insurers' worry is about the CSR money itself-$7 billion is a lot!" she noted. "Insurance plans want to know whether the Trump administration plans to stabilize Obamacare-or, as the president has suggested, let it explode". Up until this very day, the signals from the administration have been that the payments will be made until such time as a replacement plan for Obamacare is enacted.

Of course, Levitz pointed out at NY, "t$3 here are a couple obvious problems with this plan".

"The longer I'm behind this desk and you have ObamaCare, the more I would own it". The funds cover premiums, deductibles and other medical expenses for the approximately 7 million people who purchase insurance on the individual health insurance market.

  • Larry Hoffman