Donald Trump has threatened to end government payments to health insurers if Congress does not pass a new healthcare bill and goaded them to not abandon their seven-year quest to replace the Obamacare law.
In a Twitter message on Saturday, Mr Trump said “if a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”
The tweet came a day after Senate Republicans failed to muster enough votes to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare bill commonly known as Obamacare.
The first part of Mr Trump’s tweet appeared to be referring to the approximately $8 billion in cost-sharing reduction subsidies the federal government pays to insurers to lower the price of health coverage for low-income Americans.
The second part of the tweet appeared to be a threat to end the employer contribution for members of Congress and their staffs, who were moved from the normal federal employee healthcare benefits program onto the Obamacare insurance exchanges as part of the 2010 healthcare law.
Mr Trump later urged Senate Republicans to try again on a healthcare vote. The Senate is in session for another week before it is scheduled to begin an August recess.
If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
“Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, Repeal & Replace is not dead! Demand another vote before voting on any other bill!” Mr Trump said in a subsequent tweet.
Many insurers have been waiting for an answer from Mr Trump or Congress on whether they will continue to fund the annual government subsidies. Without assurances, many insurers plan to raise rates an additional 20 percent by an Aug. 16 deadline for premium prices.
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