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Hardball health care option may cost Trump and taxpayers


Trump has threatened to withhold the money to force Democrats to negotiate on health legislation.

The administration just might eliminate billions of dollars in disputed "Obamacare" subsidies. It appears members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and moderates in the Tuesday Group are in the final stages of striking a deal.

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation released Tuesday shows the Republican's threat could cost the government $2.3 billion in 2018 and as much as $31 billion over the next 10 years. Study co-author Gary Claxton said more people could enroll because more people could get a bronze plan for free, or all the news coverage about making Obamacare less generous could drive people away. "I think this may even be a conservative estimate", he said. They say it's the most critical action needed to stabilize the individual market for this year and next. They made it very clear that they want these cost-sharing reduction payments as part of ObamaCare. They were the target of a House GOP lawsuit launched against the Obama administration in 2014 which alleged the payments are illegal because they were not explicitly appropriated by Congress. All parties have agreed to put the ruling on hold and the disputed payments continue. Congress has been passing a series of short-term funding bills since October to keep operations running, and they've got to pass something before Saturday that either extends the current level of funding or goes bigger and adds in other GOP spending priorities. That bill is looming as a test of whether Washington can carry out basic government functions in the contentious Trump era.

With no resolution, the situation has compounded uncertainty over the ultimate fate of "Obamacare".




And White House budget director Mick Mulvaney has suggested the health care payments could be tied to Democratic support for financing the president's wall on the Mexican border. Without the money, insurers might just bail out of the program altogether. Premiums are subsidized separately, and there is no legal dispute about those payments.

The premium increases would be higher in states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Obama health law, the Kaiser study also found.

Speaking to GOP members during a conference call on Saturday, Ryan said the House will wait to vote on the revised bill until Republican leaders are positive it has enough support, according to Politico. Still, the businessman said the federal government should set nationwide requirements to avoid chaos with different insurance rules for companies that operate in more than one state. As the 25-year-old Army veteran and political independent reasoned, "when you have people picking and choosing what to cover, you have this system of holes and disruption and disorder".

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