Democrats Rock Trump By Reminding He’s Obligated By Law to Pay Obamacare Subsidies

Top Democrats sent a letter Wednesday to remind Donald Trump that it’s his obligation under the law to pay Obamacare’s subsidies.

A total of 196 House Democrats felt the need to remind Donald Trump that he has to abide by the law, as he’s made threats that he would just stop paying the subsidies.

“Trump reportedly wants to kill critical Obamacare subsidies, despite warnings health insurance premiums would spike,” CNBC reported on May 19th.

Trump doesn’t seem to care at all that he would be hurting millions of Americans. Instead, he sees the subsidies as a toy he can withhold from the Democrats to get what he wants. In the weeks after Trumpcare Round One failed, the President “threatened to withhold the subsidy payments as a way to induce the Democrats to bargain with him.”

So the Democrats reminded Trump that seven million Americans were depending on him to uphold the law.

“It is your responsibility to the American people and your obligation under the law to make the cost-sharing reduction payments and to stop other acts of sabotage that undermine Americans’ access to affordable, quality health insurance,” House Democrats warned President Trump.

“Health insurers plan big Obamacare rate hikes — and they blame Trump,” the Los Angeles Times reported on May 22. “Health insurers across the country are making plans to dramatically raise Obamacare premiums or exit marketplaces amid growing exasperation with the Trump administration’s erratic management of the program and its conflicting signals about the fate of aid for low-income consumers and other key issues.”

Furthermore, state letters from state regulators of both parties blame Trump’s leadership, which is in direct contrast with the Republican talking point that Obamacare exchanges are falling apart on their own. Obamacare exchanges are collapsing due to Trump’s management, “The growing frustration with the Trump administration’s management — reflected in letters to state regulators and in interviews with more than two dozen senior industry and government officials nationwide — undercuts a key White House claim that Obamacare insurance marketplaces are collapsing on their own.”

In April, the Kaiser Family Foundation explained, “If the CSR payments end – either through a court order or through a unilateral decision by the Trump Administration, assuming the payments are not explicitly authorized in an appropriation by Congress – insurers would face significant revenue shortfalls this year and next. Many insurers might react to the end of subsidy payments by exiting the ACA marketplaces.”

Democrats tasked the President to remember he’s dealing with the lives of real people, “The stability of the nation’s health care system and the health of millions of Americans now rest in your hands. Their health care coverage is not a bargaining chip.”

Of course, Donald Trump has not shown a care to even live up to the promises he made to his own voters, so this appeal to care about Americans who are only surviving because of Obamacare is not likely to find any heart strings to pull.

But the President is tasked with upholding the law, at least until the law changes, and Republicans did sue to have changed. But as of right now, the law stands and the President is supposed to abide. The President does not make laws.

Democrats are not in power, so they can’t hold Trump accountable the way they could if they were in charge. But they are trying to put up speed bumps at every turn when the President tries to take a dangerous turn that would harm millions of Americans.

The full letter reads:

The President

The White House

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The law requires, and it is your obligation under the law, to pay the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) cost-sharing reduction payments. Equivocation on this matter destabilizes the market and hurts American families by directly increasing their health care costs.

Cost-sharing reduction payments help seven million hardworking Americans and their families – more than half of all Marketplace enrollees for 2017 – afford their out-of-pocket health care costs. The decision to unilaterally rescind support for these subsidies will cause premiums and out-of-pocket costs to skyrocket and could cause millions of Americans to lose their health insurance coverage.

According to a recent report in Politico, your administration has stated that it will continue to pay these cost-sharing subsidies, for now. However, your public statements continue to raise doubts about the future of these payments and your commitment to enforcing the ACA, the law of the land. You have also stated in the past that, “The best thing politically is to let Obamacare explode” and recently said that “Obamacare is dead.”

We strongly disagree. The ACA is not dead; however, your failure to commit to paying these subsidies is destabilizing the Marketplaces, and will directly result in higher costs and fewer consumer choices. Insurers have little time left to finalize their rate filings for 2018, and without certainty as to whether or not cost-sharing subsidies will be paid, they will significantly raise their rates or exit the Marketplaces altogether. According to the American Academy of Actuaries, failure to make cost-sharing subsidy payments “could result in insurer losses and solvency challenges, leading insurers to further consider withdrawing from the market. . . . [S]ignificant market disruption could result, leading to millions of Americans losing their health insurance.” In fact, the CEO of Molina Healthcare recently warned that if cost-sharing subsidies are not funded, the company will withdraw from the Marketplaces immediately.

In areas where insurers decide to remain in the Marketplaces, failure to pay these subsidies will increase premiums for all individuals enrolled in the individual market. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, average ACA Marketplace premiums for silver plans would need to increase by 19 percent to compensate for lack of funding for cost-sharing subsidies. An analysis conducted by Covered California found that 2018 health premiums in the individual market in California could rise by 42-49 percent if the subsidies are not funded and other provisions of the ACA are not enforced. Rising prices and fewer choices will likely hit consumers in rural areas, where health care prices have traditionally been higher, particularly hard. As a result of rising premiums, the federal government would end up spending $31 billion more from 2018-2027.

Working families in every state are relying on you to pay cost-sharing subsidies to help ensure that they can afford the health care they need. The stability of the nation’s health care system and the health of millions of Americans now rest in your hands. Their health care coverage is not a bargaining chip.

It is your responsibility to the American people and your obligation under the law to make the cost-sharing reduction payments and to stop other acts of sabotage that undermine Americans’ access to affordable, quality health insurance.


Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer
Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn
Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley
Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Linda Sánchez
Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr.
Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard E. Neal
Education & the Workforce Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
Budget Ranking Member John A. Yarmuth
Alma S. Adams (NC-12)
Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44)
Karen Bass (CA-37)
Joyce Beatty (OH-03)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08)
Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (GA-02)
Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL)
Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)
Madeleine Z. Bordallo (GU-DL)
Brendan F. Boyle (PA-13)
Robert A. Brady (PA-01)
Anthony G. Brown (MD-04)
Julia Brownley (CA-26)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
G.K.Butterfield (NC-01)
Michael E. Capuano (MA-07)
Salud O. Carbajal (CA-24)
Tony Cárdenas (CA-29)
André Carson (IN-07)
Matt Cartwright (PA-17)
Kathy Castor (FL-14)
Joaquin Castro (TX-20)
Judy Chu (CA-27)
David N. Cicilline (RI-01)
Katherine M. Clark (MA-05)
Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09)
Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-01)
Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
Steve Cohen (TN-09)
Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11)
John Conyers Jr. (MI-13)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
J. Luis Correa (CA-46)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Joe Courtney (CT-02)
Charlie Crist (FL-13)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07)
Danny K. Davis (IL-07)
Susan A. Davis (CA-53)
Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04)
Diana DeGette (CO-01)
John K. Delaney (MD-06)
Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-03)
Suzan K. DelBene (WA-01)
Val Butler Demings (FL-10)
Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11)
Theodore E. Deutch (FL-22)
Debbie Dingell (M-I12)
Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)
Michael F. Doyle (PA-14)
Keith Ellison (MN-05)
Eliot L. Engel (NY-16)
Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18)
Adriano Espaillat (NY-13)
Elizabeth H. Esty (CT-05)
Dwight Evans (PA-02)
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Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05)
Al Green (TX-09)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03)
Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04)
Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01)
Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20)
Denny Heck (WA-10)
Brian Higgins (NY-26)
James A. Himes (CT-04)
Jared Huffman (CA-02)
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
Pramila Jayapal (WA-07)
Hakeem S. Jeffries (NY-08)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)
Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. (GA-04)
Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
William R. Keating (MA-09)
Robin L. Kelly (IL-02)
Joseph P. Kennedy III (MA-04)
Ro Khanna (CA-17)
Ruben Kihuen (NV-04)
Daniel T. Kildee (MI-05)
Derek Kilmer (WA-06)
Ron Kind (WI-03)
Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08)
Ann M. Kuster (NH-02)
James R. Langevin (RI-02)
Rick Larsen (WA-02)
John B. Larson (CT-01)
Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14)
Al Lawson Jr. (FL-05)
Barbara Lee (CA-13)
Sander M. Levin (MI-09)
John Lewis (GA-05)
Ted Lieu (CA-33)
Daniel Lipinski (IL-03)
David Loebsack (IA-02)
Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
Alan S. Lowenthal (CA-47)
Nita M. Lowey (NY-17)
Ben Ray Luján (NM-03)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01)
Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08)
Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12)
Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18)
Doris O. Matsui (CA-06)
Betty McCollum (MN-04)
A. Donald McEachin (VA-04)
James P. McGovern (MA-02)
Jerry McNerney (CA-09)
Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05)
Grace Meng (NY-06)
Gwen Moore (WI-04)
Seth Moulton (MA-06)
Stephanie N. Murphy (FL-07)
Jerrold Nadler (NY-10)
Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32)
Richard M. Nolan (MN-08)
Donald Norcross (NJ-01)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-00)
Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01)
Beto O’Rourke (TX-16)
Jimmy Panetta (CA-20)
Bill Pascrell Jr. (NJ-09)
Donald M. Payne Jr. (NJ-10)
Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
Scott H. Peters (CA-52)
Collin C. Peterson (MN-07)
Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
Stacey E. Plaskett (VI-00)
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Mike Quigley (IL-05)
Jamie Raskin (MD-08)
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Bradley Scott Schneider (IL-10)
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Filemon Vela (TX-34)
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Timothy J. Walz (MN-01)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23)
Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)
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