Obamacare bombshell: Trump kills key payments to health insurers

The White House said that the government cannot legally continue to pay the so-called cost sharing subsidies because they lack a formal authorization by Congress.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a brash move likely to roil insurance markets, President Donald Trump plans to halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law that he has been trying to unravel for months.

Two people familiar with the decision described the plan late Thursday night, seeking anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The White House said in a statement that the government cannot legally continue to pay the so-called cost sharing subsidies because they lack a formal authorization by Congress. The administration has been making the payments from month to month, even as Trump threated to cut them off to force Democrats to negotiate over health care.

The president’s action is likely to trigger a lawsuit from state attorneys general, who contend the subsidies to insurers are fully authorized by federal law, and the president’s position is reckless.

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Word of Trump’s plan came on a day when the president had signed an executive order directing government agencies to design insurance plans that would offer lower premiums outside the requirements of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Frustrated over setbacks in Congress, Trump is wielding his executive to bring the “repeal and replace” debate to a head. He appears to be following through on his vow to punish Democrats and insurers after the failure of GOP health care legislation.

On Twitter, Trump has termed the payments to insurers a “bailout,” and administration officials have questioned their legal authorization. It’s unclear if the…

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