07/31/2017 / By JD Heyes
President Donald J. Trump has learned some hard lessons about the way the Washington swamp works in the six months he’s been president.
But at the same time, he also seems to have learned when and how to apply pressure of his own in order to get done the things he was elected to do.
After a few Republican hypocrites including #nevertrumper Sen. John McCain of Arizona thwarted the Senate’s latest effort to repeal and replace Obamacare — like they repeatedly promised to do for years — the president is set to take some action on his own that may finally force them to make good on their pledge.
One move Trump is considering, according to various reports, is ending the so-called Obamacare subsidies that his predecessor carved out for lawmakers and their staffs shortly after the Affordable Care Act survived court challenges in 2012. At the time, lawmakers complained that if they and their staffs were “forced” into the expensive Obamacare exchange established for Washington, D.C., they would suffer a “brain drain” — an exodus of talented people out of their offices — because they couldn’t afford the premiums.
As reported by Reuters:
When Congress passed the health reform law known as Obamacare in 2010, an amendment required that lawmakers and their staff members purchase health insurance through the online exchanges that the law created. They would lose generous coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
The amendment’s author, Republican Senator Charles Grassley, argued that if Obamacare plans were good enough for the American public, they were good enough for Congress. Democrats, eager to pass the reforms, went along with it.
But it soon became apparent the provision contained no language that allowed federal contributions toward their health plans that cover about 75 percent of the premium costs.
So Obama’s Office of Personnel Management crafted a rule that allowed lawmakers and their staffs to continue receiving that generous subsidy; now, Trump is threatening to get rid of it and force lawmakers and staffs to live under Grassley’s amendment, essentially.
“After seven years of ‘talking’ Repeal & Replace, the people of our great country are still being forced to live with imploding ObamaCare!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”
In comments to reporters over the weekend, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway called the subsidies “a sweet deal” for lawmakers and staffs, adding: “This is exactly what so many Americans hate about Washington, D.C. The president will not accept those who said it is, quote, time to move.”
As for the insurance “bailouts,” these are “cost-sharing reduction” payments which are taxpayer-supplied payments to insurance companies that help keep down deductibles, premiums and other copays (meaning they’d be even higher than they already are if the payments ended). That would support Trump’s oft-stated goal of allowing Obamacare to “collapse” on its own, even though he has also said he would rather Congress address the failing law via legislation, so as not to harm American families. (Related: Federal courts rule Obamacare subsidies both legal and illegal; entire system may be gutted.)
As noted by The Blaze, if the president withholds these funds, “it would likely result in many insurers choosing to leave the Obamacare health insurance exchanges or pass on insurance costs to lower-income people, who likely can’t afford to pay the added costs.”
The president is threatening to end controversial subsidies promised to insurers under terms enacted by former President Obama. If he does so, it will effectively kill the law’s sustainability and speed up its collapse, angering voters on both sides of the aisle…
And all Trump needs to do is order his Justice Department to take federal attorneys off a current court case filed by Republicans in 2014: A federal judge has already ruled those subsidies are illegal because Congress never appropriated money for them, a ruling the Obama Justice Department was appealing.
The president is intent on getting rid of a law that is forcing millions of families to decide between a house payment or health insurance, just like he promised he would. Between making Congress and their staffs subject to the same Obamacare the rest of us have to deal with and ending insurance bailouts, he just may get his way.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.