The Department of Health and Human Services told the New York Times it intended to continue making “cost-sharing reduction” payments, which compensate insurance companies that cover low-income customers in the exchanges established by Obamacare. Eliminating the payments would make premiums spike by about one-fifth, or cause insurers to get out altogether.  Already, the uncertainty is prompting some insurers to drop out for 2018. Some 7 million people, or 58%, of those who signed up for Obamacare coverage for 2017 qualify for these cost-sharing subsidies.

But President Donald Trump is threatening not to reimburse health insurers for covering low income people as a way of forcing the passage of Trumpcare.  In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said health care remained a top priority for him, but that he was still undecided about whether his administration would fund what are known as cost-sharing reduction payments, which reduce deductibles and co-payments for lower-income people.

The payments were the subject of a House lawsuit under House Speaker John Boehner, which argued the Obama administration did not have the authority to make the payments without congressional approval. The lawsuit is still ongoing.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed Trump’s comments, saying, “This cynical strategy will fail. President Trump is threatening to hold hostage health care for millions of Americans, many of whom voted for him, to achieve a political goal of repeal that would take health care away from millions more,” the New York Democrat said in a statement.
South Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Sanford told the Post and Courier last month that White House budget chief and South Carolina native Mick Mulvaney, a former House Freedom Caucus member, delivered a message to him from Trump that Trump hoped Sanford voted against the health care bill so the President could support a primary challenger against him.

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