President Donald Trump said Friday morning that “Obamacare is imploding” after taking steps a day earlier to further weaken the law, suggesting that now is the time for Democrats to call him and strike a deal on the controversial healthcare program.
“The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
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Thursday night, the White House confirmed Trump plans to cut subsidy payments to insurers who sell healthcare plans on the Obamacare exchanges, his most serious step yet to undermine the law he has pledged to repeal and replace. Earlier Thursday, Trump signed an executive order allowing the sale of less expensive, more loosely regulated health plans.
The payments stopped Thursday by Trump could end almost immediately, because they are paid in monthly installments and have not been appropriated by Congress.
Trump has long suggested that Democrats would be desperate to strike a deal should Obamacare collapse on its own, a fate long predicted by the president. Democrats have expressed a willingness to work on legislative fixes to Obamacare but have thus far stood united in their unwillingness to do away with the law and start fresh.
Together, Thursday’s steps seem an indication that Trump will seek to undermine Obamacare without the help of Congress, which has tried and failed twice to repeal the healthcare law. His actions are likely to face legal challenges as well as opposition even from some Republicans wary of destabilizing the nation’s healthcare system by ending the subsidy payments.
“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,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement late Thursday. “The bailout of insurance companies through these unlawful payments is yet another example of how the previous administration abused taxpayer dollars and skirted the law to prop up a broken system.”