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On ObamaCare Subsidies, Trump Is Being Attacked For Upholding The Law | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Health Reform: President Trump’s decision to stop funding an ObamaCare subsidy program is being treated as an attempt to sabotage the law. In reality, Trump is abiding by the law as the Democrats wrote it.

There is no question that stopping payments for ObamaCare’s “cost sharing reduction” subsidies will have serious implications. Insurance companies have been warning state insurance regulators that they’ll have to jack up premiums even higher next year if these subsidies go away, and the Congressional Budget Office reported that it could push up premiums by 20%.

But there’s an important element missing from the lamentations coming from the insurance industry, from Democrats, and even from some Republicans about Trump’s decision.

The ObamaCare law, as written, plainly doesn’t allow Trump to make these payments.

Here’s why:

Under ObamaCare, families that make less than 250% of poverty are eligible for two separate subsidies. They get their premiums subsidized, but they also have their out-of-pocket costs reduced through the “cost sharing reduction” subsidy, which lowers their deductibles and copays. Roughly 60% of those enrolled through the ObamaCare exchanges are eligible for both.

The costs of both subsidy programs are paid directly to insurance companies. But Democrats who wrote the law decided that, while the money needed to pay premium subsidies would be automatically reauthorized every year, Congress would have to approve money for the CSR payments each year.

What they didn’t count on was that Republicans would take control of the House before ObamaCare took effect, and would never authorize that CSR money. The Obama administration, rather than push them to do so, simply took it upon itself to hand out billions in CSR payments, despite what the law clearly stated.

In 2014, Republicans sued the administration, claiming that those payments were illegal, and last year a U.S. District Court ruled in the GOP’s favor. The court said there can be no CSR payments without an annual congressional appropriation.

In her ruling, however, District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer stayed the injunction pending appeals. Obama, of course, appealed the decision, but then Trump won the election.

Since then, Trump has been making CSR payments each month, while making it clear he intended to stop doing so if Congress failed to repeal ObamaCare.

That’s where things stood until Thursday, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that, in his view, the CSR payments are illegal without Congressional authorization. Then Trump said he’d end them.

Is this disruptive? You bet. But in doing so, Trump is simply handing the ball back to Congress, where it belonged all along. If lawmakers want to fund these subsidies, they can pass a bill right now to provide the money. It’s as simple as that.

What’s interesting about this case is that — just like Trump’s decision to end the extra-Constitutional DACA program — the same people who claimed that Trump craved dictatorial powers are now infuriated that’s he’s handing authority back to Congress.

Now it’s lawmakers turn to step up to the plate. If they don’t act, it is they, not Trump, who should suffer the consequences.

RELATED:

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Memo to Jimmy Kimmel: ObamaCare Doesn’t Pass The ‘Jimmy Kimmel Test’ Either


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