President Trump’s plan to end a key Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidy will cause health care premiums to spike and insurers to exit the market according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which estimated that the action would cause the federal budget deficit to rise by $6 billion next year and by $26 billion by 2026.
The move will cut payments to health insurers that help millions of lower-income Americans afford coverage and follows an executive order that allows alternative health plans that are exempt from the law's requirements.
While analysts said healthier customer would likely be able to enroll in plans with lower insurance rates, those with pre-existing conditions would be forced to pay significantly higher rates.
The New York Times says the change will hit one group especially hard: the approximately eight million people with expensive, chronic conditions who buy their insurance on the individual market but who make too much money to qualify for subsidies. They will face “crushingly” expensive premiums.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., called Obamacare “a fatally flawed law” and said the House will continue to work with Trump administration to provide the American people a better system.”
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California called the move "a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America."
"A spiteful act"
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the move "a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage."
"Sadly, instead of working to lower health costs for Americans, it seems President Trump will singlehandedly hike Americans' health premiums," they said in a joint statement. "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."
Cannot lawfully make the payments
The Trump administration cited guidance from the Department of Justice in a statement it released: “…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, the Government cannot lawfully make the cost-sharing reduction payments.”
Trump has been frustrated by Republicans’ inability to repeal and replace – or just repeal – the ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare.