States ask court to compel Obamacare subsidy payments
Posted October 18, 2017 2:58 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — A coalition of attorneys general across the country filed a motion on Wednesday to compel the Trump administration to make key Obamacare subsidy payments, as political turmoil in Washington has put the future of the payments in limbo.
The motion comes just days after President Donald Trump announced that the government would stop funding so-called cost sharing reduction payments, which help cover insurance costs for lower-income Americans. If the payments are to continue, Trump said, Congress would have to pass legislation appropriating the funds.
The move sparked widespread concern among Democrats, supporters of Obamacare as well as some Republicans, as well, who worry that ending the payments will create more uncertainty in the Obamacare marketplace.
"President Trump's abrupt move to cut these subsidies is reckless, dangerous -- and illegal," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. "These payments are vital to thousands of New Yorkers and millions of Americans who rely on them to afford their health care. Yet President Trump is using those families as political pawns, putting their lives at risk to advance his own partisan agenda."
"This is no longer about a campaign promise or a punchline, said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is part of the coalition. The Trump administration "is taking active steps to sabotage the Affordable Care Act."
On Tuesday, Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray announced that they had reached the broad frameworks of a deal to fund the CSR payments for two years.
But Trump appeared to flip-flop his position on the matter multiple times in a matter of 24 hours -- in the same press conference that he slammed the payments as lining the pockets of insurance companies, he also lauded the Alexander-Murray deal as a short-term solution.
Wednesday morning, the President appeared to reverse course again, tweeting that he could "never support bailing out ins co's who have made a fortune w/ O'Care."