House Dems demand Trump make ObamaCare insurance payments

House Dems demand Trump make ObamaCare insurance payments
© Greg Nash

Nearly 200 House Democrats are demanding President Trump fund ObamaCare's Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments to insurers.

"The law requires, and it is your obligation under the law" to make the payments "and to stop other acts of sabotage that undermine Americans' access to affordable, quality health insurance," the House Democrats wrote in a letter to Trump.

"The [Affordable Care Act] is not dead; however, your failure to commit to paying these subsidies is destabilizing the Marketplaces, and will directly result in higher costs and fewer consumer choices."

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Insurers have warned of massive premium hikes or threatened to exit the ObamaCare exchanges completely if the payments don’t continue. Insurers participating in ObamaCare rely on the subsidies so they can reduce customers' out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles for low-income people.

Trump has publicly waffled on whether he will continue the payments. At times, he’s threatened to withhold them, let the ObamaCare markets collapse and blame Democrats. But he’s also acknowledged the political risks and said the payments would continue.

The administration has made the payments for May, but hasn't committed to future ones.

Congress may have missed the most recent opportunity to appropriate the payments legislatively, however. Democrats briefly tried to include funding for the CSR payments in the year-end spending bill, but lawmakers ultimately left it up to the administration when the White House said it would keep the payments going.

"The stability of the nation's health care system and the health of millions of Americans now rest in your hands. Their health care coverage is not a bargaining chip," the House Democrats wrote.