Trump Signs Executive Order Loosening Obamacare Rules

MIND ON HIS MONEY'I'm only signing it because it costs nothing' Trump joked

MIND ON HIS MONEY'I'm only signing it because it costs nothing' Trump joked

President Donald Trump took health care reform into his own hands on Thursday, signing an executive order after months of failed attempts at legislation by Republicans in Congress.

The move drew swift condemnation from Democrats and threats from state attorneys general in NY and California to fight back with lawsuits. Twenty one million more Americans would be uninsured if Obamacare is repealed and replaced by the Graham-Cassidy plan, according to a Brookings Institution study released earlier that day.

The president has made a decision to take a sledgehammer to Obama's signature policy by eliminating cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) that help some low-income Americans buy health insurance within the Obamacare marketplace.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi derided the subsidies cut-off in a joint statement, saying Trump would single-handedly push Americans' healthcare premiums higher. The pressure will now grow on them to act. "Make no mistake about it, Trump will try to blame the Affordable Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it".

"Hundreds of thousands of NY families rely on the Affordable Care Act's subsidies for their health care - and again and again, President Trump has threatened to cut off these subsidies to undermine our healthcare system and force Congress to the negotiating table".

That has prompted many health insurers around the country to raise premiums by double digits in 2018 to account for uncertainty over the fate of the payments.

The payments _ an important tool in the law _ help insurers reduce co-pays and deductibles for low-income consumers who get plans on marketplaces. But he has repeatedly threatened to cut them off and disparaged them as a "bailout" for insurance companies.

"Based on guidance from the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that there is no appropriation for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies under Obamacare", the White House press secretary said late Thursday.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is already planning to sue the administration over the move, along with a number of other state attorneys general. A major small business group praised the president, while doctors, insurers, and state regulators said they have concerns and are waiting to details.

This year, the CSR payments will cost the federal government about $7 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. A judge agreed but allowed the administration to continue making the payments during an appeal.

Last week, the Trump administration began dismantling the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act by exempting employers from the federal requirement to provide insurance coverage for contraception, from birth control pills to abortion drugs and devices, in their health insurance plans if it conflicts with their sincerely held religious or moral beliefs.

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