Monday, July 31, 2017

Trump blackmails Congress with cost-caring payments: "they need to pass something"

Trump threatens ending health payments to blackmail the Senate into revoting on ACA repeal. The AP story was featured on the front page of the Daily Star:White House: Trump to decide soon on ending health payments.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is insisting that the Senate resume efforts to repeal and replace the nation’s health care law, signaling that President Donald Trump stands ready to end required payments to insurers this week to let “Obamacare implode” and force congressional action.

“The president will not accept those who said it’s, quote, ‘Time to move on,’” White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said.

Conway said Trump was deciding whether to act on his threat to end cost-sharing reduction payments, which are aimed at trimming out-of-pocket costs for lower-income people. “He’s going to make that decision this week, and that’s a decision that only he can make,” Conway said.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, when asked Sunday if no other legislative business should be taken up until the Senate acts again on health care, responded “yes.”

“In the White House’s view, they can’t move on in the Senate,” Mulvaney said, referring to health legislation. “They need to stay, they need to work, they need to pass something.”

Here we go again. Something, in the view of Trump and his congressional entourage, is better than nothing. Something, anything, would count as a win for Trump.

It will soon be very clear that Trump does not intend to let ACA fail on its own. He promises taking active measures to wreck it.

Also soon to be clear is what kind of constitutional spine the Senate has. One Senator is standing her ground.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of the three Republican senators who voted against the GOP health bill on Friday, said she’s troubled by Trump’s claims that the insurance payments are a “bailout.” She said Trump’s threat to cut off payments would not change her opposition to the GOP health bill and stressed the cost-sharing reduction payments were critical to make insurance more affordable for low-income people.

“The uncertainty about whether that subsidy is going to continue from month to month is clearly contributing to the destabilization of the insurance markets, and that’s one thing that Congress needs to end,” said Collins, who wants lawmakers to appropriate money for the payments.

“I certainly hope the administration does not do anything in the meantime to hasten that collapse,” she added.

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