Saturday, November 19, 2016

How Trump Could Devastate Obamacare By Barely Lifting A Finger . The new president can cut off $5 billion in subsidies for the poor. Will he?

The Huffington Post reports:
President-elect Donald Trump could blow a giant hole in Obamacare on his first day in office without even waiting for the Republican-led Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The question is: Does he want to?

As president, Trump will have the authority to immediately cut off a form of financial assistance provided to the lowest-income enrollees in health plans sold on the Obamacare health insurance exchanges. House Republicans sued President Barack Obama’s administration, alleging it is illegally providing these subsidies without congressional approval. A federal court agreed with the GOP earlier this year in a decision the Obama administration appealed.

At issue are what’s known as “cost-sharing reductions,” which are subsidies the federal government pays health insurance companies to shrink, sometimes dramatically, out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments for health insurance exchange enrollees at the lowest end of the income scale. These are separate from the tax credits low- and middle-income households can receive to reduce their monthly premium costs.

Trump could simply accept the House Republican argument and order federal agencies to halt these cost-sharing payments to health insurers, or he could instruct the Justice Department to drop its appeal and accept the court ruling that the payments are illegal. And he could do that right away, leaving enrollees and health insurance companies with virtually no recourse.

This maneuver, which influential conservatives already are calling on Trump to make, would enable the new Republican president to strike a major blow against the Affordable Care Act, a law Republicans have pledged to undo since Obama signed it in 2010.
The great moments of ObamaCare. When your big government program relies on the whims of executive orders : you know it's probably inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution.