Though some political observers see President Donald J. Trump shifting more towards the middle on some issues, he’s not budging on one of his core campaign pledges: Repeal and replace Obamacare.
Outside of a fractured Republican Party that – after seven years – couldn’t even bring an Obamacare repeal bill to the floor for a vote, Trump’s biggest obstacle has been the Democratic Party, which has united in opposition not only to the GOP agenda, but also anything Trump wants to do.
However, he may have finally gained some leverage against the Terrorist Party: The president is threatening to end controversial subsidies promised to insurers under terms enacted by former President Obama. If he does so, it will effectively kill the law’s sustainability and speed up its collapse, angering voters on both sides of the aisle – but especially those who blame Democrats for having passed the Affordable Care Act without a single Republican vote in 2010. (RELATED: Flashback: Illegal immigrants sue U.S. government after getting kicked out of Obamacare)
And Trump doesn’t need to pen an executive order or enlist the help of Congress. All he has to do is order Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take federal attorneys off a case currently pending in court.
That’s because Republicans in Congress sued the federal government in 2014 over subsidies to insurance companies. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer last May declared those subsidies illegal because Congress never appropriated money for them.
But the administration of President Barack Obama was given time to appeal. The decision to continue the appeal is now in Trump’s court and he could easily tell federal lawyers to end the challenge.
As Natural News reported earlier this month, the potentially unconstitutional provision requires insurers to provide cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) to low- and moderate-income earners who are participants in the state-run Obamacare exchanges. In order to ensure that more Americans had “skin in the game,” as Obama liked to say, the Affordable Care Act effectively bumped up the cost of deductibles to levels that were hard for most Americans to afford without some sort of financial assistance. The CSRs were implemented in order to help cover the cost of those deductibles.
“The program works very simply: Health insurance firms pick up the expense of the patient’s deductible and then the federal government repays the insurer for what it paid out.”
If the Trump administration decides to drop the appeal that the Obama administration began, it means the lower court’s ruling stands – CSRs will be deemed an unconstitutional provision and insurance companies will be left with $7 billion of bad debt, which will unquestionably lead to even higher insurance premiums and deductibles, effectively putting the cost of health insurance coverage out of reach for tens of millions of Americans. Hence, the law implodes, as Trump has predicted that it would if Congress and the White House did nothing to repeal and replace it.
Trump has said that, politically, allowing Obamacare to collapse is a much smarter move for Republicans because, despite all of the ranting that will no doubt take place in the “mainstream” media, the GOP can truthfully claim that Democrats own the law and, hence, own its failure. But he has also said he did not want to do that because allowing the law to implode would be very bad for Americans.
“I don’t want people to get hurt,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal earlier this week, as noted by Lifezette. “What I think should happen – and will happen – is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.” (RELATED: House GOP reminds leadership their constituents STILL want Obamacare gone)
That has yet to happen. In fact, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York has already accused the president of “threatening to hold hostage health care for millions of Americans…”
So, it’s politically risky. If Trump refuses to defend the CSRs, Democrats will accuse him and Republicans of sabotaging the law, and their sycophants in the media will repeat the lie.
“It creates a lot of chaos if these payments stop,” Seth Chandler a University of Houston Law Center professor and scholar at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, told Lifezette.
“If the law were otherwise functioning well, I think it could withstand the loss of $9 billion. But in at least some states, I think this would be the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he added, meaning it would likely kill off many remaining Obamacare exchanges.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.