President Trump hopes that by cutting off funds to Obamacare could bring Democrats to the table
President Donald Trump has said many times that when it comes to improving healthcare in the United States he is willing to work with the Democrats to make that happen. That means Obamacare, in one way or another will survive, perhaps with a different name but too many parts of the law are so popular that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act is a losing proposition.
President Trump knows that he can’t rely on the GOP led Congress to give him what he wants in a healthcare plan. He wants no more dealings with the very Conservative Freedom Caucus.
So, this week President Trump, floated an idea that might force a showdown with the Democrats that bring both sides to the table. He told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that he might hold back the payments from insurance companies to force Democrats to negotiate over replacing the Affordable Care Act. “I don’t want people to get hurt,” he told the WSJ. “What I think should happen — and will happen — is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.”
Major medical and insurance groups sent a letter to President Trump on Wednesday urging him to maintain funding for the subsidies, which amount to about $7 billion a year and are paid directly to insurers. Those subsidies go a long way to helping cover premiums, deductibles and other medical expenses for about 7 million people who purchase health insurance on the individual health insurance market.
The biggest problem at the moment is a direct result of the Republican Congress refusing to help fund that part of the ACA. Major insurance companies panicked and major participants like Humana Inc. and Aetna, have left or announced their intention to leave the Obamacare exchanges, citing multi-million-dollar losses and patient populations that are far costlier and sicker than they expected. They warned that withholding the subsidies would destabilize the market further and leave millions of consumers with little or no choice in picking a health insurance plan.
Meanwhile, some Democrats are willing to talk to President Trump as long as it does not mean repealing Obamacare. They just want to repair the law.
The concept of the White House working on speeding up the crashing of the Affordable Care Act could force both sides to the negotiations faster than expected.
In front of the camera’s there is tough talk as House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called that the White House delaying payments to insurance companies is an “appalling threat.”
Pelosi said Trump’s stance on withholding the payments “will increase costs, is a threat to the good health of the American people and a threat to keeping government open.”
On April 28th the Congress needs to pass a budget to fund the United States Government. Democrats are now demanding that the issue be addressed and that the Trump administration must continued to make cost-sharing payments to insurers as it weighs options.
Back at the White House in the aforementioned Wall Street Journal Interview Trump maintained Wednesday that he, not Democrats, hold the leverage: “Schumer should be calling me up and begging me to help him save Obamacare,” he told the Journal. “He should be calling me and begging me to help him save Obamacare, along with Nancy Pelosi.”
If that does not happen the Democrats are willing to shut down the government forcing both sides to come to the table to resolve the issue. We will see if a deal on healthcare before there is a government shutdown on the 100th day of the Trump presidency.