Trump Calls ‘Obamacare’ A ‘Broken Mess,’ Will Halt Subsidies To Health Insurers

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WASHINGTON (AP) – In a brash move likely to roil insurance markets, President Donald Trump will “immediately” halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law he has been trying to unravel for months.

The Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement in a statement late Thursday. “We will discontinue these payments immediately,” said acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Medicare administrator Seema Verma. Sign-up season for subsidized private insurance starts Nov. 1, in less than three weeks, with about 9 million people currently covered.

Trump is also inviting congressional Democrats to “call me to fix” America’s health care system, as he prepares the order.

In a pre-dawn post on his Twitter account Friday, the president reiterated his oft-stated argument that “Obamacare is imploding.”

Addressing Democrats, he tweeted that “massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!”

Trump is also calling the so-called “Obamacare” law a “broken mess.”

Trump tweeted that “piece by piece” his administration will begin the process of “giving America the great HealthCare it deserves!”

The subsidies help lower copays and deductibles for people with modest incomes. Stopping the payments would trigger a spike in premiums for next year unless Trump reverses course or Congress authorizes the money.

Since his presidential campaign and nearly nine months in office, Trump has persistently called for getting rid of the 2010 Obama law. His fellow Republicans joined him in that cause, but neither Trump nor the GOP has been able to muster sufficient strength to get the repeal bill through the Senate.

In a separate statement, the White House said the government cannot legally continue to pay the so-called cost-sharing subsidies because they lack a formal authorization by Congress.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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