CA ATTORNEY GENERAL SEEKS EMERGENCY INJUNCTION TO HALT TRUMP FROM CANCELING HEALTH INSURANCE SUBSIDIES

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By Miriam Raftery

October 19, 2017 (San Francisco) — President Donald Trump’s executive order to cancel cost-sharing subsidy payments required by the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress is being challenged in court by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.  Becerra has filed a motion asking the court to compel the federal government to “follow the law and pay the subsidies that millions of Americans rely on to lower the out-of-pocket costs in their insurance plans,” according to a press release issued by his office.


Becerra states, “The Trump Administration is willingly breaking the law by refusing to make required payments that keep healthcare affordable for millions of Americans. It is taking active steps to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. No one deserves to live with this imposed medical uncertainty. The cost-sharing subsidy payments protect Americans from being a paycheck away from bankruptcy. Nineteen Attorneys General from California to Pennsylvania refuse to stand for this Administration’s repeated efforts to ignore the rule of law and deny Americans access to basic healthcare.”

The Affordable Care Act’s mandatory cost-sharing subsidy payments help working families access more affordable healthcare coverage by helping individuals with incomes between $11,880 and $29,700 enroll in plans with lower deductibles, copayments or coinsurance, reducing their out-of-pocket costs.

The Republican-led Congress has repeatedly tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, but has failed to muster enough votes to do so.  Thus, Obamacare remains the law, and it will now be up to a court to determine whether the President has the power to unilaterally undermine an act of Congress.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan coalition in Congress is working on a new healthcare reform bill that would keep intact these subsidies, but also give states flexibility to adjust rules and allow skimpier bare-bones plans to be purchased by residents including seniors at lower costs, but with lesser coverage.  Businesses could also pool resources to purchase plans across state lines.

Just last week, before filing the emergency temporary restraining order request Attorney General Becerra led a coalition of 19 state attorneys general (including the District of Columbia) in suing the Trump Administration over its abrupt decision to sabotage the Affordable Care Act by refusing to make the cost-sharing subsidy payments by the October monthly deadline. More than six million Americans benefit from the cost sharing subsidies. Without the funds, millions stand to lose their health insurance coverage.

The Affordable Care Act’s mandatory cost-sharing subsidy payments help working families access more affordable healthcare coverage by helping individuals with incomes between $11,880 and $29,700 enroll in plans with lower deductibles, copayments or coinsurance, reducing their out-of-pocket costs.

The Republican-led Congress has repeatedly tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, but has failed to muster enough votes to do so.  Thus, Obamacare remains the law, and it will now be up to a court to determine whether the President has the power to unilaterally undermine an act of Congress.

Meanwhile a bipartisan coalition in Congress is working on a new healthcare reform bill that would keep intact these subsidies, but also give states flexibility to adjust rules and allow skimpier bare-bones plans to be purchased by residents including seniors at lower costs, but with lesser coverage.  Businesses could also pool resources to purchase plans across state lines.

Just last week, before filing the emergency temporary restraining order request Attorney General Becerra led a coalition of 19 state attorneys general (including the District of Columbia) in suing the Trump Administration over its abrupt decision to sabotage the Affordable Care Act by refusing to make the cost-sharing subsidy payments by the October monthly deadline. More than six million Americans benefit from the cost sharing subsidies. Without the funds, millions stand to lose their health insurance coverage.