Trump Threatens to Withhold Insurer Payments if Dems Shun Bargaining Table

Insurance meltdown would be poison pill for PPACA

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, President Trump said he was still considering what to do about subsidy payments to insurers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPAC), which Republicans contend are unconstitutional. Their abrupt cancellation could trigger an insurance meltdown leading to the collapse of the PPACA.

“Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn’t get that money,” Trump said. “I haven’t made my viewpoint clear yet. I don’t want people to get hurt....What I think should happen and will happen is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.”

House Republicans filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its constitutional authority to green-light billions of dollars of funding for the payments, which Congress never appropriated. In 2016, a federal judge ruled that the payments were illegal but let them continue while the Obama administration pursued an appeal. After Trump’s election, Republicans requested and received an initial delay in the case.

“It wasn’t authorized by Congress,” Trump said in the interview. “I’m going to have to make a decision.”

He added that Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s Democratic leader, “should be calling me and begging me to help him save Obamacare, along with [House Democratic leader] Nancy Pelosi.”

Schumer and Pelosi, in turn, have announced that they are unwilling to discuss a deal with the president while his threat of undermining the PPACA remained on the table.

Many states’ insurance markets are hanging by a thread as insurers, rocked by poor results in the early years of the PPACA and continued uncertainty over its future, threaten to withdraw, according to the Journal report.

Source: Wall Street Journal; April 12, 2017.