The Atlantic had an interesting article on how and why top congressional Republicans are begging Trump to stop sabotaging the health insurance markets. Trump has refused to guarantee that it will pay the subsidies, which are known as “cost-sharing reduction payments” and help insurers keep down deductibles for low-income customers while still making a profit.

The decision has infuriated insurers, and several companies have cited the uncertainty caused by the administration as the reason for exiting Obamacare exchanges in certain states and counties.

Republicans in Congress are now joining the effort to pressure Trump to make the payments. Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander urged the administration to continue payments of subsidies to insurance companies that are considered crucial to the individual market and preventing sharp premium increases.

These payments will help to avoid the real possibility that millions of Americans will literally have zero options for insurance in the individual market in 2018,” Alexander told Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services.

 

Under questioning by Alexander, Price refused to make any commitments on the subsidies. Other administration officials have said they are deciding on the payments on a month-to-month basis, but insurers face a June 21 deadline for determining whether they will stay in the Obamacare marketplaces in 2018. “I don’t know how insurance companies can operate when they don’t even know whether these payments are going to be available a week from now,” said Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“Everything is being done by this administration to sabotage the ACA so they can go out and essentially lie and say, ‘Oh see, it’s not working’ after they’ve made every effort to sabotage it,” Pallone said in a recent interview.

The requests from Alexander and Brady are also the latest evidence of tensions between the president and Republicans lawmakers as the party struggles to enact a replacement for Obamacare.  Trump reportedly decried the bill as “mean” in a private meeting with Senate Republicans this week. Price awkwardly refused to repeat his endorsement of the House proposal. “It’s not a yes or no answer,” the secretary replied when Murray asked if he agreed with Trump’s criticism of the bill.

 

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