Donald Trump and Barack Obama

President Donald Trump announced Thursday night that he will end the Obamacare cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, a move that could wreck the law’s individual insurance exchanges and send healthcare costs soaring for many Americans.

“Based on guidance from the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that there is no appropriation for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies under Obamacare,” said a statement from the White House. “In light of this analysis, the Government cannot lawfully make the cost-sharing reduction payments.”

The CSR payments help to offset the cost to insurers for offering insurance plans to poor Americans with low out-of-pocket costs. Insurers have warned repeatedly that if the payments were cut off, they would be forced to raise premiums in order to make up the financial loss.

The move comes after Trump maintained the CSR payments for the first eight months of his presidency. After the failure by Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare, however, Trump has pursued measures to undermine the stability of the landmark healthcare law.

The CSR payments were long disputed, with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives suing the Obama administration saying that the payments were illegal since they were being appropriated by the executive branch instead of Congress.

A federal court ruled in favor of the House, but the Obama administration appealed the ruling, allowing the CSR payments to continue. During the start of the current presidency, Trump’s administration kicked the can down the road on the appeal and appropriated the CSR payments on a monthly basis, dangling the critical payments as bait in multiple negotiations with Democrats.

In August, a federal judge ruled that 17 states and the District of Columbia could continue the lawsuit even if Trump pulled out of the appeal over CSR payments since the end of …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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