DN Editorial: Trump's Threat To Sabotage Obamacare Is Foolish And Cruel

SOUNDING LIKE a demented hostage-taker, Donald Trump last week publicly toyed with the idea of using millions of American lives as political bargaining chips.

"I don't want people to get hurt," he told the Wall Street Journal, while threatening to do just that. In an attempt to coerce Congressional Democrats to help him dismantle the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Trump said he would sabotage the health-care system (on purpose) and possibly crash the insurance markets. This could abruptly end coverage for millions and spike insurance rates.

Here's the situation and it's complicated: There are two kinds of subsidies under the ACA: funding to help individuals pay their premiums and about $7 billion in subsidies paid directly to insurance companies to help lower co-payments and deductibles. These "Cost-Sharing Reductions" — CSRs — cover about 7 million Americans with incomes less than 250 percent of poverty (under $30,150 for an individual).

In 2014, House Republicans challenged the CSRs in court alleging that the ACA legislation did not include proper authorization language while the Obama Administration argued that the subsidies are legal. In an unprecedented decision, a federal judge found in Republicans' favor, but the subsidies continued while the government appealed.

Now, with Obama gone, Trump could immediately end the CSRs simply by refusing to defend against the lawsuit. Here's what would happen then: Insurers would still be bound under the ACA to offer health-care coverage to everyone, so removing $7 billion from the equation would force them to drastically raise prices (by 19 percent, says the Kaiser Family Foundation). Or insurers might find they can't break even and exit the market.

Not surprisingly, just about everyone involved in the health-care industry - hospitals, doctors, patients and insurance companies - want the CSRs to continue, and they also want an end to the uncertainty that is already spooking the markets. Some Republican office-holders also support continuing the CSRs, apparently understanding that destroying health care in their states is not such a good idea.

But deal-maker Donald Trump is sure that jeopardizing the health care of millions will force Democrats in Congress to negotiate with him to repeal ACA, thereby killing insurance for even more millions. (Ending CSRs would reduce the number of insured by 12 million, Kaiser estimates. The Republicans' repeal-and-replace plan that fizzled last month would throw 24 million off coverage.

Trump also apparently thinks, if he explodes the ACA in full view of the American people, they will blame the Democrats, and some surely will. But a recent poll (also by Kaiser) says 61 percent will blame Republicans.

Democratic Senate and House leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi last week demanded that Republicans include permanent funding for CSRs in the federal budget authorization bill that Congress must pass by April 28 to prevent a partial government shutdown.

Trump's threat is reckless and cruel, but we already knew that he either doesn't know or doesn't care who will get hurt by his actions. The question is, will Republicans continue to follow him over this cliff?

What You Can Do: Call your member of Congress. Tell Democrats you back their stand on CSRs. Tell Republicans that, if Trump is allowed to ruin the ACA, you know whom to blame, and it won't be Democrats.

Published:

Philadelphia Daily News

Thanks for your continued support...

We recently asked you to support our journalism. The response, in a word, is heartening. You have encouraged us in our mission — to provide quality news and watchdog journalism. Some of you have even followed through with subscriptions, which is especially gratifying. Our role as an independent, fact-based news organization has never been clearer. And our promise to you is that we will always strive to provide indispensable journalism to our community. Subscriptions are available for home delivery of the print edition and for a digital replica viewable on your mobile device or computer. Subscriptions start as low as 25¢ per day.

We're thankful for your support in every way.

>

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines > Commenting policy

| > Comments FAQ

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Source : http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20170417_DN_editorial__Trump_s_threat_to_sabotage_Obamacare_is_foolish_and_cruel.html

DN editorial: Trump's threat to sabotage Obamacare is foolish and cruel
Trump Says He Should Let Obamacare 'Collapse.' That's Cruel And Irresponsible.
The Left is Busily Planting Fake Red-Meat Conservative News Sites
The Trumpotopia to come
Who locked little Johnny out of Yellowstone?
4/17 PoliticsPA Playbook
Slacker Friday
Is Obama the worse President since WW2? Part 3 – Foreign Policy
Senate Republicans Push for War With Iran