The Wall Street Journal: Trump to halt Obamacare subsidies to health insurers

The Trump administration will end billions of dollars in payments to insurers under the Affordable Care Act program, but President Donald Trump has privately told at least one lawmaker that the payments may continue if a bipartisan deal is reached on heath care, according to people familiar with the matter on Capitol Hill and in the health-care industry.

The White House in a statement Thursday night said that based on guidance from the Justice Department, the Department of Health and Human Services has determined there is no appropriation for the payments and the government can’t lawfully make the payments.

“It is a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.)

The Department of Health and Human Services was even more direct, saying the payments “will be discontinued immediately” and citing a legal opinion from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“We believe that the last Administration overstepped the legal boundaries drawn by our Constitution,” acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said in a joint statement. “Congress has not appropriated money for [the payments], and we will discontinue these payments immediately.”

Trump told at least one lawmaker Thursday that he is feeling pressure to end the payments, known as cost-sharing reduction payments, because they are the subject of a lawsuit, according to the people familiar with the matter.

Also see: Trump tax-cut plan may spark sell-off in bond market, Robert Rubin says

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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