While Congress is too busy tripping over each other’s feet to pass any of Donald Trump’s campaign promises, like repealing Obamacare, the Billionaire-in-Chief has taken it upon himself to make basic healthcare unaffordable for the poor and middle class — by doing what he does best, not paying the bills. Now an Obama-appointed judge in liberal California just gave Trump the green light.
The payments, which Trump called “subsidies” to the insurance companies, were in fact reimbursements, as required by law. Earlier this month, Trump signed an executive order eliminating the payments.
The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2017
The judge, Obama appointee U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, denied an injunction, requested by the State of California, saying there’s no evidence it would cause immediate harm to Californians.
He noted many states, including California, saw “the writing on the wall” and took actions to mitigate any potential harm if the payments were ended. Chhabria wrote in his ruling,
To be sure, the absence of money for CSR payments does not seem to be causing health care reform to come crumbling down.”
While the judge is correct that California took action to prevent harm against the poorest, it’s the middle class who will certainly be harmed. Those who make less than four times the federal poverty level qualify for a tax credit. For an individual, that’s about $48,000. For a family of four, just under $100,000. For those, the tax credit will cover the increase in premiums.
Those who make, say, $50,000 a year, will be screwed. This would currently affect roughly 300,000 Californians. Their choice will be to either downgrade their plan or pay a lot more in premiums. Covered California, the administrator for the exchanges in California, is even suggesting people shop outside the exchanges.
For people on a Silver plan WITHOUT a tax credit, they will see a much higher increase for 2018 and the Bronze plan probably makes more sense.
If the person wants to keep the Silver plan (very popular), they may want to look at off-exchange IF they are NOT eligible for tax credit.”
California is not the only state suing. Seventeen other states and Washington, D.C. have all requested restraining orders against Trump’s executive order.
Even if you aren’t getting your insurance on the exchanges, you’ll still foot some of the bill because of the increase in tax credits. According to the Washington Post,
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecast that ending cost-sharing reductions would increase the federal deficit by $194 billion over a decade, because the tax credit amounts would increase and because more people would receive them. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that premium tax credits would cost an additional $12.3 billion if cost-sharing reductions end next year.”
Believe it or not, Congress could come to the rescue, but probably not for 2018. From The Hill:
Congress could still decide to appropriate the payments, and there is some bipartisan agreement that they should be made. Bipartisan legislation funding the payments for two years has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
But there likely won’t be any action on the bill until the end of the year. It hasn’t yet been endorsed by President Trump or House and Senate leadership, as many Republicans are hesitant to vote for what they see as a bailout of ObamaCare.”
Now would be a good time to call your members of Congress. Tell them not to let Trump renege on America’s promises.
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