The White House announced Thursday evening that the government funded subsidies designed to keep premiums low in the Obamacare legislation will be ceased.
What did the White House say?
“Based on guidance from the Department of Justice,” the statement read, “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 light of this analysis,” it continued, “the Government cannot lawfully make the cost-sharing reduction payments. The United States House of Representatives sued the previous administration in Federal court for making these payments without such an appropriation, and the court agreed that the payments were not lawful.”
“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,” the statement concluded. “Congress needs to repeal and replace the disastrous Obamacare law and provide real relief to the American people.”
What does this mean?
This means that the government won’t be bearing some of the cost of the insurance premiums under Obamacare, and they’ll likely rise, pushing the program farther into the “death spiral” some say it’s heading towards.
The Congressional Budgeting Office estimated that premiums would increase by 20% without the subsidies. Insurers were to receive $10 billion in these subsidies in 2018.
Earlier Thursday, President Trump signed an executive order calling for health care associations, and for easing of restrictions on health care programs.
Both of these actions together will help further the collapse of the Obamacare program after congressional Republicans were unable to come to a consensus on repealing and replacing the legislation.
How did Democrats react?
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) decried the action on Twitter, saying, “Sadly, instead of working to lower health costs for Americans, it seems @POTUS will singlehandedly hike Americans’ health premiums.”
It is a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 13, 2017
“Make no mistake about it,” he concluded, “@POTUS will try to blame the Affordable Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it.”